Be honest now. Did you know Riz Ahmed was British?
One person who had no idea was Stephen Colbert. The late-night host was forced to admit last night (August 29) that he had assumed Riz, like his character Nasir “Nas” Khan in the critically acclaimed HBO drama The Night Of, was from Queens.
“I did not know that you were English until you started talking,” he said when the breakout star joined him as a guest on the Late Show. He then asked the actor about his experience being Pakistani in America and how it compared to the U.K.
“When I was growing up I felt like I had to qualify it and say I’m British-Pakistani,” said Riz. “But now, I kind of feel like, in this day and age, this is what British looks like. It looks like me, it looks like Idris Elba, and hopefully through [his character] Nasir Khan, people will see that that’s what an American can look like as well.”
With roles in films such as The Road to Guantanamo, Four Lions, and The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the multi-talented Riz is also known for his rap music in the U.K., where he goes by the name of Riz M.C.
Watch to the end to see him spit some bars about Downton Abbey:
Riz is certainly having quite a year. As well as a role in Jason Bourne, his performance as Nas Khan in The Night Of, a drama about a Pakistani-American college student accused of murdering a girl on the Upper West Side of New York City, made a lot of people stand up and notice.
It came to a close on HBO on Sunday night, but something tells us that won’t be the last we hear from the multi-talented Riz: he can also be seen in hotly-anticipated Star Wars prequel Rogue One, due out in theaters this Christmas.
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