Riz Ahmed Interviewed Inmates and Guards at Rikers Island for 'The Night Of' | Drama Actor Roundtable
On typecasting, Ahmed also told THR, "I'd rather be broke," than take another "Terrorist 3" role.
"We all contain the possibility of being each other within us," Riz Ahmed of The Night Of told The Hollywood Reporter during the Drama Actor Roundtable. "If the given circumstances change, I'm more like you, you're more like me. Situation breeds character."
"I'm always asked to play outside my own accent," said Ahmed, who plays a young man from Queens, New York in the hit HBO miniseries but is British born and of Pakistani decent. To learn foreign accents Ahmed interviews people and records them. "What I found in doing that, is I get so much more."
"Interviewing people who have been through Rikers (where Ahmed's character is imprisoned), been through the prison system, it was a kind of detail of things like how people just let go of family. It's too painful. After a while you don't want that umbilical chord to survive."
Ahmed went on to speak about stereotypes in film and television. "A lot of my early work kind of deals with the issues around the war on terror or Islamophobia, but I'm proud to say I think it deals with those and engages those issues in quite creative ways and I hope in way that kind of move us forwards rather than kind of doubling down on lazy stereotypes."
More roundtables featuring comedy and drama actresses, actors, showrunners and reality creators will continue through July in print and online. Tune in to new episodes of Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter starting May 25 on Sundance TV, and look for clips at THR.com/topic/roundtables with full episodes on THR.com after broadcast.