Usually, when someone mentions Canadian talent, their first thought is the likes of Drake. However, despite actor Mena Massoud not considering himself to be a musical person, he isn’t too far off from his level. In fact, Massoud currently plays Jared Malik on Open Heart, produced by Stephen Stohn and Linda Schuyler the same producers of Emmy-award winning Degrassi.
Massoud’s character is the head of the Youth Volunteer program playing by the rules and relishing in the authority his job gives him over the main characters Dylan (Karis Cameron), Michaela (Cristine Prosperi), and Wes (Justin Kelly). With Jared’s snarky personality, Massoud commented with a laugh, “I love how brutally honest he was as a character.” He then added that he could relate to Jared in that way because he considered himself just as honest regardless, if it “can come off as a little rude as well.”
Although, the characters on the show often find Jared’s methods of authority and free speaking way of life off-putting (or if we’re being honest…annoying), Massoud assured us that as the show goes on we’ll be able to see Jared, “become more passionate about making friends.” He didn’t go into more details other than that cleverly remaining hush, hush about any more changes he’ll go through or secrets that may be discovered.
After speaking with Mena for awhile, we came to realize honesty wasn’t the only thing they had in common. While Jared works at Open Heart Memorial Hospital, Mena was originally studying neuroscience before dropping out to apply to an art program at Ryerson University. He mentioned how he realized he wanted to be an actor when he first moved to Canada (fun fact: He was born in Egypt and raised in Markham, Ontario). He even gave credit to Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Rush Hour (1998) and the late actor Robin Williams as inspiration.
Aside from acting, we spoke to him about his second passion as well, sports. He talked to us about how he grew up on sports, “I would come home from school and watch Sports Center. I was just passionate about the sports world.” He added, even mentioning horseback riding as one of the things he loved that acting helped him achieve.
“We live in a society where we need to support ourselves and need to be able to fund for the things you love,” Mena said asked about what keeps him going. He also touched heavily on how his dreams, love, and passion for acting and his desire to bring characters to life helped him to accomplish his dreams. “…everything else would just be the cherries and sprinkles.” Mena laughed when he talked about what being accomplished as an actor would mean to him.
Before saying goodbye, we asked him to categorize his co-stars Karis, Cristine, and Justin into different songs. Despite his laughing and declaring of being “really bad at this,” he managed to do it anyway! Here are his answers and why:
Karis – Country, “She’s a total country girl, she loves nature and her pick up truck.”
Cristine – Club song, “Cristine is just so lively and energetic!”
Justin – Blues, “Justin’s really laid back and easygoing.”
And because we couldn’t resist, we decided to ask him to classify himself to which he responded “I Feel Good” by James Brown!
New episodes of Open Heart air Tuesdays at 8/9p Eastern on Teennick and CTV.
(Photo Cred: David Leyes)