Riz Ahmed is having a pretty fantastic week career wise. Not only was he nominated for a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award but his latest project, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is about to be seen by the world. Like I said, he is having a great week. While in San Francisco, we got the chance to sit down and chat with him about his role in the Star Wars Universe.
Here’s what Riz Ahmed had to say…
About his character
“My character is called Bodhi Rook, and he works in the Empire. He’s a cargo pilot from this planet called Jedha, which is occupied by the Empire. He’s just trying to earn a living with the main employer in the only show in town is working for the Empire. The name Bodhi means awakening, and he goes through a kind of awakening and realizes that that’s not the way. He’s got to try and stand up for what he believes in to make a difference. So he takes a big risk, and defects from the Empire to seek to help the rebels.”
Three words to describe his character.
“Full of regret”
*To which I said “That was deep” and his response was
“That was deep! I think it’s true for a lot of the people in this film. A lot of the people in this film have got quite a dark history. Or have the past that they’re not proud of. And they’re trying to make things right. And that’s what drives them to take big risks and to link up with other people, who they’ve got nothing in common with, to try and fight a cause that’s bigger than any one of them. It’s about redemption and people trying to make things right for themselves and people around them.”
How he is like his character
“I’d like to think that he’s quite a relatable character for a lot of people. He’s just an everyman – an average Joe. He finds himself in a crazy situation. He’s not like Cassian, who is a rebel spy. He’s not like Baze, who is a hardened assassin, or Jyn, who is a criminal rebel. He’s just a truck driver, basically, and he finds himself in the middle of this crazy intergalactic heist movie. He freaks out a little bit! I think I’d freak out in that kind of situation. I think most of us would.”
Training for his role
“I was so muscly; I had to lose weight so that Diego didn’t look too bad. That was the main issue for me. (Laughing) No, my character isn’t a soldier. So he’s not super physically fit. He needs to look like when he’s running through a war zone with a 50-kilo backpack on him; he’s out of breath, and it’s difficult. My preparation was to get really out of shape and just kick back… Yeah. A lot of Netflix and donuts. That was my preparation.”
On his character being the one to name the team
“It was the last day of shooting during reshoots. So this is the very, very, very last day of shooting. John Swords, one of the producers asked ‘Can you do a take when you say this?’ So it was a very last minute thing they threw in. It wasn’t like I read the script and was, like ‘yes! I get to name the team!’ It just happened. It’s really interesting, a lot of the film took shape like that – it evolved. My character started out as a totally different character with a different name and a different job; even with a different relationship to the other characters. I think that’s cool. When you do these big movies, there’s a lot of people think that it’s quite stiff and everything has to be planned out beforehand. Actually, it is kind of the opposite, at least with these guys. They’re willing to move around as much as they have to to make things work and make them as good as they can be.”
What he hopes people to get out of his character
“Even normal people can make big contributions. You might think that someone else is gonna stand up for what you believe. But at some point, it’s on you to stand up for what you believe in, and make a contribution for what you think is right.”
What’s it like visiting LucasFilm Headquarters? Read about my experience here.
***Check out all our coverage at http://funtasticlife.com/tag/rogue-one-a-star-wars-story/
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story arrives in theaters everywhere on December 16th!