“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.” – Riz Ahmed
Emmy Award-winning actor and musician Riz Ahmed may now be able to count an Oscar nomination to his credit because of his extraordinary role as a heavy metal drummer who is losing his hearing in the film Sound of Metal, but like most actors it was a long road until he achieved success as an actor. In fact, speaking with the Daily Mirror, Ahmed reveals that he nearly quit acting before being cast in his breakthrough role in the 2014 film Nightcrawler because he was not making enough money.
Ahmed admits to a surprising dilemma he faced: Though he would later appear in roles in blockbusters like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Venom, he was by no means a financially-successful actor in his earlier years and could not afford to fly to Los Angeles for the audition for 2014’s Nightcrawler. He reveals, “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’. 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.”
After nearly quitting acting, Nightcrawler proved to be the lifeline he needed to reach the next stage of his career. But he really was at the end of the line. He explains, “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.”