Venom: How Riz Ahmed Turned Blockbuster into Learning Experience

Actor Riz Ahmed knew he was always destined for bigger and better things for his career. While he didn't think he put out his best work after 2018's Venom playing inventor and mogul Carlton Drake, the would-be-host of the villain symbiote Riot, the actor learned from his own shortcomings in the Ruben Fleischer-directed Sony blockbuster. Speaking with Variety, the actor opened up about how he felt underwhelmed by his performance.

Venom: How Riz Ahmed Turned Blockbuster into Learning Experience
Riz Ahmed in Venom (2018). Image courtesy of Sony Pictures

"I'm not saying I don't like those big movies. I'm saying I had not learned yet how to bring myself to those movies," Ahmed said. "Those films teach you stamina, technical craft, and it is a skill to be able to eke out your artistry in that setting. Look at Javier Bardem in 'Skyfall.' I just hadn't developed the skill set at that point to do the technical thing and the emotional thing." Following Venom, the actor who was Oscar-nominated for Best Actor in The Sound of Metal looked for roles to better fit his skill set.

"The idea of making masks and wearing masks is something that came very naturally to me, as someone who grew up code-switching between different cultural environments and class environments," Ahmed explained. "Shape-shifting to fit into other molds, acting became an extension of that, and more recently, what I've thought about it is taking masks off. Of course, if you believe on some deep internal level that you aren't the right type — the right color, shape, size, accent — then you will start instinctively wearing masks. So it's been a shift in self-perception for me to say, 'You know what? I am enough. We are all enough.'" Ahmed can be seen in the upcoming film Encounter for Amazon, starring opposite Octavia Spencer. For more on his acting inspirations growing up, learning his craft, the cultural impact he wants to make, and what he's worked on since Venom, you can head over to Variety. Encounter comes to theaters on December 10.

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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