Ahmed: Following ‘Road’

Berlin Film Festival: Shooting Stars 2012

Shortly after graduating from Oxford, Riz Ahmed began studying at London’s prestigious Central School of Speech and Drama; while there, he landed his first film role, in Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross’ “The Road to Guantanamo” (2006). He followed it with some TV work — notably in ITV’s “Wired” — before playing the titular lead in Eran Creevy’s micro-budget “Shifty” (2009), which earned him a BIFA nomination. He earned a second BIFA nom the following year, for his perf in Chris Morris’ “Four Lions.”

Before long, he seemed almost inescapable: appearing in Sally Potter’s “Rage,” Neil Marshall’s Roman epic “Centurion,” starring in Jean-Jacques Annaud’s “Black Gold” and Mira Nair’s “The Reluctant Fundamentalist.” He re-teamed with Winterbottom for his latest feature, the India-set “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” adaptation “Trishna,” which preemed last year at Toronto.

“And anyway,” he adds, “I don’t see myself as a purely British actor — my heritage from South Asia opens the possibility of working in that region, and the Middle East, as well. Being an insider and an outsider — someone whose experience cuts across different classes and cultures — has only been an asset to me, in terms of experiences to draw on. It’s an interesting position to be in, and an interesting place to tell stories from.”

Return to the Berlin Preview >>