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Aladdin star Naomi Scott ‘inspired by Queen Rania’

Mena Massoud says film shooting in Jordan, Arab World will help tourism

By Muath Freij - May 15,2019 - Last updated at May 15,2019

Wadi Rum has become a major location of Holywood movies (JT file photo)

AMMAN — The unique character of Her Majesty Queen Rania was my source of inspiration, Aladdin star Naomi Scott said.

“She [Queen Rania] is incredible from what I have seen of her... she really does embody the idea of being human,” Scott said in an interview at the Royal Film Commission in Amman on Monday.

“Yes she is royal, but she is just a human and she is someone who has great leadership qualities,” she exclaimed.

Scott plays the role of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s live action remake of “Aladdin”, to be commercially released on May 23.

Though she was not among the cast members when some scenes of the movie were shot in Jordan, Scott finally managed to visit the Kingdom.

“I was really upset [for not being able to be in Jordan with the rest of cast] because [when] they came back all they were talking about is how shooting in Jordan was the best part of the movie,” she added.

“I am incredibly excited to [finally] be here,” Scott said.

Parts of the movie were shot in the dazzling desert of Wadi Rum, which has been the main attraction for filmmakers from all over the world. 

Mena Massoud, another cast member of Aladdin, thinks shooting films in Jordan and the region is “important” as it reflects the beauty of Wadi Rum in Jordan, and the rest of the region.

“I am very proud of this film, the diversity in it and also the landscape that we choose to represent,” he told The Jordan Times. 

He recounted that Morocco is a successful example of a country attracting film productions. 

“I think we are certainly seeing that in Morocco where they are getting a lot of film work, and I think it definitely helps tourism in other countries like Jordan and Egypt,” he added. 

Both actors were excited to be part of this movie. Scott described the whole experience as “magical” while Massoud said it was a great honour and privilege for him to be able to play his role.

He expressed hope that the audience would enjoy it.


Inspiring talent


Sending a message to the world, Scott told on all women and girls: “Believe in yourself.”

“If I were seven years old in 2019, what would I want to see? I think I would want to see a character to whom I can relate. Not someone perfect, but someone with the drive,” she said.

Massoud noted that his Egyptian background was a source of inspiration for him during his cinema work.

“There is great rich cinematic history in Egypt... [It] was once and continues to be a central to the regional entertainment scene. I grew watching those movies and actors. They had huge influence on me and I think you know people might see that a bit in [my] performance,” he added.

Massoud urged artists to commit and work hard to achieve success in an industry he described as “tough”.

“The film industry is hard whether you are an actor or writer... It is just a tough business,” he said, adding that as long as “you’re passionate about it and willing to learn, then you will succeed”.

He voiced hope that he and his talented fellow artists from the region will stand as a source of inspiration for artists in the region. 

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