The little-known actor talks casting controversies, questions of representation and how he held his own with Will Smith.

When Mena Massoud, the star of the new Aladdin live-action remake, got the first callback for the title role, he decided not to revisit the beloved 1992 animated original. Instead he wanted to draw inspiration from the underlying theme: a "journey of personal identity."

The cartoon does carry a well-intentioned, universal message of being true to yourself. But it has also been criticised for promoting the stereotype of "barbaric" Arabs. And though it's set in a fictional port city in Arabia, its