Acclaimed British star Riz Ahmed has taken over the spotlight of late since he bagged a historic Oscar nomination in the best actor category.
The 38-year-old The Reluctant Fundamentalist star, may have become a leading name in Hollywood but his path to fame and glory was anything but a bed of roses.
The Sound of Metal actor told Mirror Online how he nearly gave up on his career as an actor right before his breakthrough film Nightcrawler which released in 2014.
He confessed that he almost pulled out of the audition for the film because he was too broke to buy a plane ticket.
“They asked me to fly to fly to L.A. I was like, ‘I can’t fly to L.A. I’m broke’. But I had to fly to L.A. – and just bet on myself. I spent that whole flight just running lines. I remember landing and seeing Jake Gyllenhaal in the room and going, ‘Whoa’,” he said.
“It came when I thought I’d reached the end of the road. I wasn’t really making any money, being offered that next tier of roles,” he continued.
“I just felt earning a couple of grand for a movie? I can’t live like this. I’m not going to be able to move forward or start a family. And Nightcrawler just came to me. It was like a bit of a Hail Mary. And it ended up really opening some doors,” shared Ahmed.
Speaking about his role as a punk metal drummer in the Academy Award-nominated film Sound of Metal, Ahmed said: “I spent that period playing the drums every day and learning American sign Language every day. It was immersive. It was challenging. It was daunting.”
“But it was a tremendous privilege, you know? I feel like it opened me up in new ways,” he added.
The Night Of star also spoke about how he is no longer at the stage where he is only given certain roles connected to his race.
“Starting out I was very aware of how few Muslim or how few brown actors, rappers, actors there might have been out there in these post 9/11 times in this circus of fear. Things are shifting. There has been a bit of a wake-up call. There is this moment now where some kind of shift has taken place,” he said.