The Egyptian-Canadian actor who stole the spotlight after landing the lead role for Disney’s remake of Aladdin was one of the prominent guests at this year’s El Gouna Film Festival. Mena Massoud is best known for his looks and charm, which he obviously shares with Aladdin, as well as his fluency in Egyptian Arabic. The latter is mainly why the actor was recently appointed as an ambassador for the Speak Egyptian Initiative that was launched by the Ministry of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriates’ Affairs.

As Massoud landed in El Gouna, we rushed to get a few words from the rising star. And during an enlightening conversation, we discovered a lot of interesting facts about Mena that you probably didn’t know. 

#1 His parents wanted him to become a doctor, but one day, during his calculus and neuroscience classes, he realised that was not what he wants to spend the rest of his life doing. So, he studied theatre instead.

#2 In high school, he was on the improv team, the announcements team in the mornings, and he also took part in school plays.

#3 He thinks Egypt has a lot of talent and would love to bring an Oscar nomination for it one day. He even said that he’d love to come back to Egypt and do a film here if it’s the right film for him.

#4 He would love to act with Adel Imam and Yousra! Watching Egyptian actors influenced his acting skills and gave it a narrative. 

#5 He enjoys doing his own stunts. 

#6 He LOVES cooking; it helps him relax!

#7 He doesn't know how to read Arabic; he reads it in franco! 

#8 The reason why his Arabic is so good is that his sisters were 11 and 13 when they moved to Canada, and his entire family spoke Arabic all the time at home. Not just that, but even his friends from church were Egyptian as well.

#9 He’s a Virgo, and he thinks Aladdin would’ve been a one as well.

#10 He’s currently filming Reprisal, a series that’s set to premiere this December on Hulu.