Riz Ahmed nearly quit acting before he got his big break.
The ‘Sound of Metal’ star has revealed he was so broke before he found fame by starring in ‘Nightcrawler’ that he didn’t even know if he could afford to make it out to Los Angeles for the audition but decided to completely “bet” on himself.
He said: “They asked me to fly to Los Angeles. I was like, ‘I can’t fly to LA. I’m broke’. But I had to fly to LA – 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’. 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.
“I just felt like 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.”
And the 38-year-old actor admits his new role – in which he plays a punk metal drummer who has lost his hearing – was both “immersive” and “challenging”.
Speaking about the movie, he added to the Daily Mirror newspaper: “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.”