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After spending several years in social services, Nicole has finally followed her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer. In addition to her work for The Hudsucker, Nicole is also a staff writer for Womanista. An avid comic book fan, BBQ aficionado, professional makeup artist and first-time mom, Nicole can be found exploring Kansas City rich history when she's not blogging about suburban life at Suburban Flamingo.

Heart to Heart: Chatting with Mena Massoud of ‘Open Heart’


Image Credit: David Leyes

Hospitals have been the setting for many television series. One of the latest is the family mystery series Open Heart on Nickelodeon and YTV. The Hudsucker recently had an opportunity to catch up with one of the hot new show’s stars, Mena Massoud, and have a chat.

The Hudsucker: So tell us a little about your show, Open Heart.

Mena Massoud: Open Heart is a mystery series that follows the journey of Dylan Blake as she tries to find her missing father and along the way attempts to discover who she is. Dylan has to volunteer at a hospital to fulfill her community service because of her past mistakes and there, she meets Jared who is the head of the volunteer program.

The Hudsucker: What about the show do you like the most?

Massoud: I like the fact that it appeals to so many audiences and it doesn’t try to do that. It explores all aspects of Dylan Blake’s life and through that it tells the story of all the people in her life.

The Hudsucker: Your character, Jared, has been described as being a little bit of a jerk by some. Do you think that’s a fair description? What about Jared made you want to take on the role?

Massoud: I do and I don’t. I can see why people think he’s a jerk but he actually has very good intentions. He wants people to get work done but he doesn’t care if they have fun as long as they don’t cross the line. He cares a lot about his friends but nobody ever gets close enough to be his friend. Not in the beginning at least. I liked the idea of a character who is so honest that sometimes he just comes off as a jerk. He doesn’t have a filter for the most part and he doesn’t care. I’m kind of like that in real life, so I liked that we had that in common. I could really relate to him.

The Hudsucker: The show has some really funny moments.  Is comedy something you plan to pursue in regards to acting roles?

Massoud: I’ll do anything that attracts me and gets me nervous and excited. It doesn’t matter the genre as long as I want to explore and try to bring that character or story to life. There are definitely aspects of comedies that make them different from dramas but at the end of the day, a comedic character is just as serious and passionate as a dramatic character.

Image Credit: Stephen Scott for Epitome Pictures

The Hudsucker: What has been your favorite moment working on Open Heart?

Massoud: Whenever Justin, Cristine, Karis and I got together for our scenes I had an awesome time. Mostly because Jared either got made fun of or he got to make fun of the other characters in the scene. Not to mention they’re just awesome people.

The Hudsucker: Did you always want to be an actor?

Massoud: As far as I can remember, yes.

The Hudsucker: What made you want to become an actor?

Massoud: Seeing actors in films and what they got to do. When I watched a good movie I felt like it changed me and I wanted to be able to do that to other people.

The Hudsucker: What actor or performance do you feel has impacted and inspired you the most?

Massoud: Robin Williams in everything he did. He was an incredibly well-rounded actor but I grew up on his role in Mrs. Doubtfire. That role by itself is very well-rounded and he goes through an amazing journey in that movie. I think it’s very underrated.

The Hudsucker: Speaking of journeys, what did you do before you became an actor?

Massoud: I did what everybody did. I went to high school and because of my cultural background I studied the maths and sciences. Then I went to University of Toronto for neuroscience until I decided I had enough.

The Hudsucker: You mention your cultural background. You’re an Egyptian in Canada. How do you think this unique experience has impacted your perspective?

Massoud: I think anybody coming from a different cultural background will have something unique to offer because they’ve grown up with different perspectives on certain aspects of life. I came from a culturally-different household. My parents saw certain things differently than other people. My parents at a very crucial age in life packed up their life and decided to move to a country where they had no family or friends in order to provide a better life for their children. When you do that, you learn a few things along the way. You appreciate things more. You learn how to live with limited resources. You learn how to prioritize. So in that sense, my perspective is shaped based on certain beliefs and values.

Open Heart can be seen on Nickelodeon and YTV. Check your local listings. To connect with Mena Massoud, follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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