Riz Ahmed says the lack of screen diversity is 'shocking but not surprising'

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GQ cover star Riz Ahmed, photographed by Tung Walsh credit:Bang Showbiz
GQ cover star Riz Ahmed, photographed by Tung Walsh credit:Bang Showbiz

Riz Ahmed has criticised the "shocking" lack of diversity on TV and has called for better representation of Muslims on screen.

The 38-year-old British-Pakistani actor - who is this month's cover star for GQ - opened up about how Muslim representation is a "blind spot" within our culture which he thinks ultimately "costs lives".

He said: "'It's not surprising, but it is shocking. It's a blind spot that's all over our culture. And it costs lives. Countries get invaded, hate crimes go up, laws get passed. So off the back of that we're thinking, 'What do we need to shift?' And, actually, it's about empowering people to tell their own story."

The Emmy Award winner spoke to GQ magazine about his role as a a British-Pakistani rapper who is diagnosed with a degenerative autoimmune disease, in his new film 'Mogul Mowgli'.

He said: "'It's basically a pandemic movie: a workaholic gets hit with a health crisis; his life is thrown into a lockdown. He has to sit with himself, reassess what really matters. I always find the making of a film, the telling of a story and the story itself, end up mirroring each other. Always."

In the same interview, told of his experience about playing deaf drummer Ruben Stone in the 2019 film 'Sound of Metal', for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.

He said: "'I'm that guy, man. I'm go, go, go, go, go, control, micromanage, obsessive. This film taught me what it taught Ruben. It taught me to let go – get the f*** out the way, tap into something bigger than yourself. It was bruising and it was draining and it was liberating and it was elevating."

See the full feature (Gq-magazine.co.uk/culture/article/riz-ahmed-interview) in British GQ’s December/January issue, dedicated to GQ Heroes issue available on digital download and on newsstands Friday 5 November.

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