‘Aladdin’ Star Mena Massoud’s First Slate for Press Play Productions Includes Stephen King Farsi-Language Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)
By Manori Ravindran,2023-02-07
“Aladdin” star Mena Massoud has revealed the first slate of projects out of his company Press Play Productions, which aims to bridge the gap between Hollywood and the Middle East and North Africa.
With offices in Dubai and Los Angeles, Press Play was founded by Massoud and producing partner Ali Mashayekhi, who heads content development in North America. George Shehata oversees content development in the MENA region.
Massoud, who is of Egyptian heritage, broke out playing Aladdin in Guy Ritchie’s live-action adaptation of the Disney film. His other credits include Prime Video’s “Hotel for the Holidays,” the animated feature “Lamya’s Poem” and Hulu series “Reprisal.”
The company’s slate include Canadian TV series “Evolving Vegan,” as well as the films “In Broad Daylight,” the Stephen King adaptation “The Last King” and festival title “Spaceman.”
Bell Media original series “Evolving Vegan” is slated to debut this spring in Canada on Bell Media’s CTV Life Channel and SVOD service Crave. It’s a six-part food, travel and adventure series that explores the exploding plant-based food scene across North America, including Los Angeles, Portland, Austin, Mexico City, Toronto, and Vancouver. Massoud and Ali Mashayekhi executive produce for Press Play.
On the film side, Press Play is currently in post-production on Massoud’s Arabic-language debut film “In Broad Daylight,” which is slated for a theatrical release later this year. The Egyptian project has cast top stars in the MENA region, and is centred on a young man who, after leaving his homeland as a young boy, comes back to Egypt as a trained agent to carry out the most dangerous mission of his life.
Slated for a festival run this year is “The Last King,” the first-ever Stephen King work to be adapted entirely in a foreign language. The timely short film, which is in Farsi, is set in Iran and reflects the country’s ongoing “Woman, Life, Freedom” revolution. It stars Iranian-American actors such as international comedian Maz Jobrani and the star of Apple TVs “Tehran,” Sheila Ommi.
Meanwhile, heading for a festival run is “Spaceman,” which is directed by Dan Abramovici, and stars Massoud, J.K. Simmons, and one of Canada’s prolific mimes, Trevor Copp. “Spaceman” is a short version of the upcoming feature written and directed by Abramovici, and produced by Massoud and Mashayekhi.
Press Play Productions was set up to address a growing need for diverse stories and content, particularly from MENA, which is comprised of fast-growing entertainment industries. The international expansion of streaming services such as Netflix into MENA has provided more commissioning opportunities for companies like Press Play.
“In the 1970s, Egypt was the third largest film industry in the world and continues to cultivate a rich and thriving industry for the whole region,” said Massoud.
“Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, the UAE, and now Saudi Arabia are all breeding grounds for some of the best content in and around the African continent. Press Play will be a driving force in bringing those stories to the West. We have some really exciting projects releasing this year and in the pipeline and I’m thrilled to be bridging the gap between the MENA region and Hollywood.”
Massoud is represented by Gersh, LINK Entertainment, Viewpoint and attorney Derek Kroeger of Myman, Greenspan, Fox, Rosenberg, Mobasser, Younger & Light.More from Variety
- Paddy Considine, Mena Massoud Headline Boxing Drama 'Giant,' Based on True Story of Naseem Hamed
- Madelaine Petsch and Mena Massoud on Rom-Com 'Hotel for the Holidays,' 'Riverdale' Final Season and 'Aladdin 2' Updates
- 'The Royal Treatment' Review: A Stressed Hairdresser Gains a Royally Cute New Client in Noble Netflix Romp
Comments / 0