From Nightcrawler to Rogue One to Venom, Riz Ahmed has given us his talent not through showy pomp and circumstance but through his actual work. This goes beyond film as he made history as the first Asian actor to win an Emmy for his leading role in the HBO miniseries The Night Of. On top of that, Ahmed’s spits serious fire as a solo rapper and as part of the group the Swet Shop Boys (check out their cover of “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)” on the Hamilton Mixtape and you’ll thank me later) — all align with his advocacy and political activism.
In his latest, Ahmed stars in Darius Marder’s feature film debut Sound of Metal as a punk rock drummer who slowly goes deaf. Ahmed never had played the drums and only had a very basic knowledge of the deaf community. That said, he dived into a role where he had to learn the art of drumming and learning as much as he could about the deaf culture. He learned American Sign Language and essentially became a member of the deaf community — and it all paid off as he delivered the goods in one of the most incredible and immersive films of the year.
Ahmed dropped some serious knowledge when he visited the New Hollywood podcast, sharing his experience working on Sound of Metal and his journey of learning ASL, the drums and entering an unfamiliar world. We also talked about his latest album The Long Goodbye and a wildly relevant short accompanying it directed by Aneil Karia that was cinematic as it was riveting. Listen to the episode below.
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