Aladdin star responds to Princess Jasmine casting controversy

Chris Edwards
Photo credit: Daniel Smith - Disney

From Digital Spy

Aladdin star Mena Massoud has responded to the controversy surrounding the casting of Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine.

In a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times, Massoud addressed the angry reaction from fans on social media who thought the role should have gone to someone of Arab heritage, rather than Scott, who is British and of Indian descent.

"It’s a funny thing that’s happening online," said Massoud. "The Middle Easterners want Aladdin to be a Middle Eastern story, and the Indians want Aladdin to be an Indian story.

Photo credit: Daniel Smith - Disney

"The truth is, it’s really a folk tale from the 1800s, and Agrabah is a fictional place that’s a culmination of India and Asia and the Middle East.

"In fact, in the original folk tale, Aladdin was actually of Chinese descent. So what we wanted to do with this was represent as many different cultures from that part of the world as possible."

Photo credit: Daniel Smith - Disney

Recently, Scott told Digital Spy that people are becoming more "open-minded" about diversity on screen.

She said: "We're busting these myths of 'this won't sell' and 'this won't sell', it's like, 'No it will… Beauty and the Beast made this much, Wonder Woman, Black Panther'.

Photo credit: Daniel Smith - Disney

"All of these examples that are breaking those ceilings which I think is really important because I think people want to see themselves, and there's a whole big world out there so there's lots of different people to represent."

Aladdin is in cinemas now.

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