After a mammoth worldwide search - and plenty of whitewashing controversy in between - Disney has finally announced the stars for its up-coming live action remake of Aladdin.

The title character will be played by Egyptian-Canadian actor, Mena Massoud, and he joins a cast that will include Naomi Scott (Princess Jasmine) and Will Smith (The Genie).

Though he's an unknown to Egyptian audiences, the Egyptian-born Massoud's young acting career has seen him make a name for himself on TV, where he has featured in shows such as Open Heart, The 99 and, most recently, a small screen adaptation of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan.

mena massoud 3Massoud as Jared Malik in Open Heart

The announcement, which was made this weekend at the D23 Expo, comes after a global search that even reached Egypt. Things recently took a turn for the controversial, however, when Disney was attacked for expressing exasperation at not being able to find an actor to take up the eponymous role, with many pointing to the hundreds of top quality actors in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Under the guidance of British director, Guy Ritchie, the film is said to be taking inspiration not only from the 1992 animated classic,  but also from the original tale from One Thousand and One Nights. When the film was initially announced in October 2016, filming was penciled in for July 2017, but no new dates have been announced.

By Kalam El Qahaira