Riz Ahmed Talks Process of Losing 22 Pounds in 3 Weeks for New Role

Riz Ahmed had to take on a physical challenge for his new role in Mogul Mowgli. In the film, the 38-year-old Oscar-nominated actor, who co-wrote the film, is playing London-born Pakistani rapper Zed, who is losing his motor functions due to an autoimmune disease. 

Part of taking on this role was undergoing extreme weight loss. 

“I lost 10 kilos [about 22 pounds] in three weeks,” Ahmed told IndieWire. “I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I had a professional dietician working with me, but it was really grueling and took me emotionally to an intense place, which probably informed the movie.” 

Ahmed’s personal physical transformation mirrored in some ways that of his character’s medical struggles. 

“That was a big part of it, being in a place of weakness and fatigue and insatiable hunger,” he added. 

Quoting Daniel Kaluuya’s thoughts about not being in your head as an actor, Ahmed added, “Acting has to be in your body. Anything that brings you into your body centers you, and you can perform in that place.”

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