Mena Massoud
Mena Massoud in a file photo from Dubai Image Credit: Antonin Kelian Kallouche/Gulf News

Hollywood star Mena Massoud was in for a pleasant surprise during his recent trip to the UAE with the ‘Aladdin’ actor bestowed with Dubai Police’s Esaad privilege card upon arrival.

Massoud, the Canadian actor of Arab origin, also featured in a short video clip thanking the authority for his little present, along with professing enthusiasm over seeing some of the cars driven by Dubai Police, probably referencing the fleet of supercars the authority boasts.

In the accompanying video clip, the actor is heard saying: “Hello I am Mena Massoud. I am in the Dubai Police Headquarters at DXB, the Dubai Airport. They have been very hospitable and I got to check out some of their cars last night. They have given me the Esaad, which is a part of their privilege programme and I am very thrilled to be here.”

Dubai Police launched the Esaad card in 2019 under which employees across government entities would receive various benefits, discounts and offers in the public and private sectors.

It is unclear exactly when Massoud was in Dubai, with the actor most recently seen in the Netflix rom-com ‘The Royal Treatment’, which released earlier this year.

Massoud shot to fame starring as the lead in ‘Aladdin’, which went on to earn more than $1 million at the global box office. However, a year later, the actor famously said in an interview that despite such a huge Disney hit to his name, he had yet to bag a single audition in its aftermath, lamenting about limited roles for Arab stars in Hollywood.

Aladdin still Image Credit: Disney

“When I started 10 years ago, my first professional union job was Al Qaeda No 2, and I had two lines. So, it’s gotten better,” said Massoud at the Middle East Film and Comic Con in 2020. “But, if you take a look at the African-American community, for example, they’ve been fighting for their place in Hollywood for decades. Only now are they really starting to take off.”

“I’m trying to be a voice for the North African Arab community,” he added. “We’ve got to continue to fight for our place in the industry.”

(He also called for more representation behind the scenes, saying: “While it’s great for [actors like] Rami Malek, Rami Youssef and I, we need more Sam Esmails in the world,” referring to the Egyptian-American producer, and creator of hit TV series ‘Mr Robot’.)

The Royal Treatment-netflix87-1643300774048
The Royal Treatment. Mena Massoud as Prince Thomas in The Royal Treatment. Cr. Kirsty Griffin/Netflix © 2021 Image Credit: Kirsty Griffin/Netflix

During the same interview, Massoud also told Gulf News that no one has reached out to him about reprising his role in the sequel to ‘Aladdin’, which is said to have started talks with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson to take join the cast.

“No one’s formally spoken to me about it. I actually had a friend send me the article. That’s how I found out. So, I’m hearing everything for the first time, like everyone else,” the Egyptian-Canadian revealed to tabloid.

“I hope they, you know, write the script and do a good job and see what happens,” he added.

In September 2021, Massoud told Screen Rant that he was still in the dark about how far the ‘Aladdin 2’ script had progressed and that he hoped the original cast would be a part of the journey.