After a lengthy casting process, Disney has officially found the stars who will lead the highly anticipated “Aladdin” live action adaptation. Naomi Scott and Mena Massoud have been added to its cast, portraying Princess Jasmine and Aladdin in the live action retelling of one of Disney’s most iconic classic fairy tales.

The “Aladdin” live action cast was revealed at Disney’s D23 Expo on July 15. Prior to the announcement, Disney was reportedly circling around several actors to play the titular role. The list included Riz Ahmed and Dev Patel.

Who is Mena Massoud?

Disney and “Aladdin” showrunner Guy Ritchie was adamant on having a relatively unknown actor play the lead role in the upcoming film. Canadian actor Mena Massoud fits the bill perfectly. He currently stars on Amazon’s “Jack Ryan” and previously appeared on “Saving Hope” and “Open Heart.”

Compared to Riz Ahmed and Dev Patel, Mena Massoud’s acting credit mostly consists of small television roles and has a relatively small following on social media. What’s most significant about Massoud’s acting is that he is of Middle Eastern descent due to his Egyptian roots. While casting was on going, Disney promised to stay true to the origin of “Aladdin” and cast Arab actors to play the role of an Arab character.

According to The Sun, when asked about being an Arab actor in Hollywood, Massoud said that being a minority in the film industry still affects him. He added that the competition may be less but the amount of work was less as well; however, he acknowledged that the industry is now starting to support actors with diverse backgrounds.

Who is Naomi Scott?

While many celebrated the casting of Massoud, many also slammed Disney for hiring Naomi Scott to play Princess Jasmine. Disney is receiving backlash for casting Scott, who is of Indian descent, to portray an Arab princess.

Aladdin” is an Arabic tale and fans were hopeful that Disney would do the right thing and cast an Arab actress to play Jasmine.

Although the film takes place in the fictional Agrabah, the city is largely seen as resembling a Middle Eastern city.

According to Fortune, one critic said the decision expresses Hollywood’s belief that “brown [people] are interchangeable.”

Scott, who played Kimberly in the “Power Rangers” reboot, has a musical background which will be an advantage for her, as “Aladdin” will retain the musical elements from the animated film. She previously appeared in Disney’s teen musical titled “Lemonade Mouth.”

Other details about the film

Another confirmed cast member is Will Smith, who will be portraying Genie in “Aladdin,” who was originally voiced by the late Robin Williams. One important character that hasn’t been cast yet is Jafar, the main antagonist in the film. According to The Daily Mail, Tom Hardy is reportedly one of the strong contenders for the role and many people weren’t happy about it, considering that the actor doesn’t have Middle-Eastern roots.