Oscar nominee Riz Ahmed almost quit acting after being ‘broke’


Riz Ahmed may have made history after becoming the first Muslim to be nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, but there was a time when he almost had to quit acting because he was too broke.

Before landing his breakthrough role in 2014’s Nightcrawler, Ahmed recalled that he did not have enough money to fly out for the audition. “They asked me to fly to L.A. I was like, ‘I can’t fly to L.A. I’m broke’,” The Daily Mirror quoted him.

“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’,” Ahmed further shared.

 

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The 38-year-old who is currently up for the top acting honor for his role in deaf drama Sound of Metal added that his breakthrough came when he felt he had “reached the end of the road.”

 

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“I wasn’t really making any money, being offered that next tier of roles,” he said. “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.”

Sound of Metal features Ahmed in the role of Ruben Stone, a drummer who loses his hearing. The film is also up for five other Oscars, including Best Picture.

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