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Disney casts Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott as stars of live-action 'Aladdin'

Get to know these rising stars and why social media isn't too happy about the casting

By Lydia Chan | Published: 17 Jul 2017

The cast of Aladdin
Photo: menamassey/Instagram; naomigscott/Instagram

Get ready to embark on a whole new world with Disney's live-action remake of Aladdin. Over the weekend, at the D23 Expo, studio executives announced that up-and-coming actors Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott will play the lead roles of Aladdin and Jasmine respectively.

So, who exactly are these two new lead actors?

Relative newcomer Mena is an Egyptian-born Canadian who's acted in a few television series like Nikita and Canadian drama Saving Hope. His starring role in Aladdin will thrust him into the spotlight but Mena should get used to it – he's also set to appear alongside John Krasinski in Amazon series Jack Ryan.

As for the new Princess Jasmine, Naomi made her big-screen debut as the Pink Ranger in the recent Power Rangers film. The British actress, whose mother is of Northern Indian descent, has also appeared in the sci-fi television series, Terra Nova.

After months of speculation, Disney execs also confirmed that Will Smith will take on the beloved role of Genie.

Just last week Disney caused a ruckus by claiming that they "struggled to find the right lead actor." Even after the big casting reveal, it seems some are still not pleased with the announcement of Naomi as Jasmine. Many people were quick to point out the actress' part-Indian descent is distinctly different from the Disney princess' Middle Eastern background.

No word yet on who else will be casted in Aladdin (the role of Jafar, the film's villain is reportedly still up for grabs) but one thing's for sure, the new Guy Ritchie-directed remake is certainly one to watch.

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