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In the years since Rogue One, Riz Ahmed has been a very busy actor and his latest role in Darius Marder’s Sound of Metal as Ruben, a drummer who loses his hearing during a tour and finds friendship in the deaf community, is yet another landmark performance.

In Darius Marder’s Sound of Metal, Riz Ahmed is Ruben, a drummer who loses his hearing in the midst of a nomadic music tour with Lou (Olivia Cooke), and finds solace in the deaf community.

Before filming, Ahmed embarked on an intensive six-months of drum lessons. But still, he claims his skills are not up to scratch. “I should not play the drums at all,” he says. “Luckily the kind of genre that Ruben exists in is one that is more about passion than technical prowess. It’s very much a cathartic form of expression for him.” The physicality of it also proved a full-on workout. “Drumming is great cardio,” he says. “I’d be in a sweaty studio in Brooklyn all day, just dripping sweat.”

That would be enough work for some actors, but as Ruben begins to panic over his deafness, he is gripped by his addiction issues, so Ahmed also delved into researching that. “I’ve been in and around that world and seen up close what addiction can do to people,” he says. “It’s something that I’ve been intimately familiar with.”

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