Reprisal star Mena Massoud knows he’s having a good summer. After starring in Disney’s live action adaptation of Aladdin (as Aladdin, no less), Massoud is in the middle of shooting Hulu’s stylish hyper-noir Reprisal. The series, due out in December, stars Abigail Spencer as a new twist on the femme fatale. Massoud plays Ethan, a young man who finds himself in the middle of an intense war between two sides he barely understands.
“He’s the only character who links these two worlds together,” Massoud told Decider after Reprisal’s panel at Summer TCA. “He’s also the character that I think the audience can relate to the most because like the audience, he’s trying to figure out stuff, too.”
During Reprisal‘s panel, Massoud admitted to journalists that the project appealed to him because it was “important to me to do something different because I knew that for most people, Aladdin would be the first time that they ever saw me and instantly they would be like, ‘Oh, well he sings and dances and that’s all he can do.’” As Ethan, Massoud gets to immerse himself in a dark world of “brawlers” and “river phoenixes.” It calls for brutal fight scenes, dangerous relationships, and an awful lot of creativity.
“We are literally building this world up from the ground up, from scratch, and it’s a lot of work from the set designers to the costumers to everything. What makes it more difficult is you’re creating this kind of ambiguous era, so when you take a look at our costumes you’re thinking ’50s, but maybe ’90s, but maybe now,” Massoud told Decider. “It’s funny actually, I never thought about this until now, but with Agrabah [from Aladdin] and with this world, both of them are fictional places that don’t exist, so you have to make them up from scratch. It’s a really creative process.”
Decider asked Massoud if starring in one of the biggest movies of the year had changed his career. His answer was candid, and surprising.
“You know I’ve been saying this a lot because I think it’s important for people to know. I think a lot of people make presumptions when a big, billion dollar movie happens, like Aladdin, that the actors are getting paid a lot of money, that they must not be auditioning anymore,” Massoud said, noting that since he auditioned and booked Reprisal before Aladdin came out, he hasn’t had any opportunities to test if the film has radically changed his professional standing. “So, I don’t know, that’s yet to be seen. I went in the room for Reprisal. I had to audition. And I kind of won the room over.”
“But, yeah, like I said, I honestly haven’t felt much difference. I have a few more people recognizing me on the street, but not much. I don’t feel like I can’t go out and live life. And career-wise, to be perfectly honest with you, I feel zero effect from it. So that’s yet to be seen,” Massoud added.
Massoud is just one of a number of rising stars in Reprisal. Most of Massoud’s scenes are with breakout talents David Dastmalchian, Rhys Wakefield, and Madison Davenport.
“I think what makes [Reprisal] special is that there’s a lot of actors in this show that I think are just about to pop-off,” Massoud said to Decider. “A lot of us are just on the cusp, I think, of doing something really special in our careers. So it’s interesting to have all those people in one show because we just have a really great energy that way.”
Aladdin hits SVOD on September 10 and Reprisal will debut on Hulu on December 6.
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