Darius Mauder’s directorial Sound of Metal — featuring Riz Ahmed — won Best International Film at Zurich Film Festival that concluded on Oct 6th. The 132-minute long drama features Riz as a drummer (Ruben) who loses his hearing amid a musical tour with Lou (Olivia Cooke). After becoming deaf, Ruben finds solace in the deaf community.
Before starting the shoot, Riz signed up for an intensive six month musical training program. However, the actor is still not satisfied with his drum playing abilities. In an interview to Deadline, Riz said, “I should not play the drums at all.” But according to the British-Pakistani actor, since Ruben’s story as a musician was more about passion than about technicality, he was able to pull it off.
After Riz’s character loses his hearing completely, he is roped into the toxic world of addiction, which is something that the 36-year-old has grappled with himself. “I’ve been in and around that world and seen up close what addiction can do to people,” Riz told Deadline.
Another challenge for Riz was to learn the American Sign Language (ASL) to fully befit Ruben’s character. “I was very grateful to Jeremy Stone, who was my ASL teacher,” he told Deadline.
Riz considers playing Ruben as ‘one of the special experiences of his life’. The Emmy Award winning actor is known for his stellar performances in films such as The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Apart from his brilliant acting skills, Riz is known for his political and humanitarian activism. He was also recently named as one of the 50 most stylish men by GQ Australia.