Abbey Colege
Friday 29 August 2014
Free Newspaper Asian News
The Asian Today Newspaper - Issue 189 Out Now View Issue 189 Online Now!
Register today for all the latest news from The Asian Today.
Where did you hear about us?
Get Your Free Copy of The Asian Today
YOUR FREE ASIAN COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER!
Use our store finder to find out where you can pick up your local copy of The Asian Today!
WANT TO ADVERTISE? 
Advertising in The Asian Today  is a great way to promote your business. Contact our advertising team:    
sales@theasiantoday.com
Call:  0121 314 2892


Interviews - The Asian Today

Updated: 16:07, Wednesday February 15, 2012
        Interviews Feed
Riz Ahmed talks Black Gold
Brit actor returns to the big screen in Arabian epic
 
BRIT actor Riz Ahmed will be somewhat of a regular on the big screen in the coming months.
The Arabian epic Black Gold, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud will see the actor burst back onto our screens later this month. Just weeks later he will team up with Michael Winterbottom (the two worked together on the award-winning 2006 docudrama ‘The Road to Guantanamo’) for Trishna, a modern re-working of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Ubervilles, while a May release of singer Plan B’s directorial debut ILL Manors will round off a busy three months.
But first up is Black Gold – a big-budget, epic film about the birth of the Middle Eastern oil industry. Renowned Tunisian Producer Tarek Ben Ammar held onto the movie rights of Swiss writer Hans Ruesch’s novel ‘South of the Heart’ for over 30 years hoping one day he’d fulfill his dream of bringing the epic story to the big screen.
As an Arab himself, Ben Ammar saw that Ruesch’s tale had all the classic ingredients to make a film with global appeal that would also offer a positive portrayal of the Arab world and Islam.
Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, Ben Ammar finally brings the story to the big screen later this month, and with a cast including Antonio Banderas, Freida Pinto and Riz himself, there’s huge excitement for a film billed as the Middle East’s biggest-ever production.
The Asian Today caught up with Riz to talk Black Gold…
 
Riz, tell us about Black Gold – what type of film can we expect?
I think it’s a really refreshing story in some ways. It will be a historical insight for people.  It’s good to see a story about the Middle East being told from the point of view from the indigenous people of that region. I think we’ve had fantastic Arab epics in the past and some of those films are classic and they’ll always stay classic but I think it’s really interesting and really timely to have something where our main protagonists are actually Arabs and Muslims themselves.
 
One thing that really strikes you about Black Gold is the scale of the production. Would you say it’s the biggest film in terms of production that you’ve been part of to date?
It’s a huge production. Everything I’d done up to that point had been low-budget, UK independent kind of stuff.  When I first found out about the project and that Jean-Jacques Annaud was directing it, I was actually quite scared because he does massive films like ‘Seven Years in Tibet’ and ‘Enemy at the Gates’. He makes crazy, huge, epic kind of scarily big films. So it was all quite daunting but all really exciting and cool. 
When I got to the set, I realized that a lot of the team were people that had worked with Jean-Jacques before a few times, that put me at ease because even though it was a big scale production, it was a tight family of people working together which was cool.
 
Let’s go back to the beginning. How did you get involved in the film?
The audition process was really interesting.
When I first mean Jean-Jacques I was just struck by how articulate and insightful he was. He struck me as a real intellectual with a kind of sympathy for actors. He gave me a chance to do it a few different times and try a few different ways. 
The audition went well in London and then he called me to Paris for a screen test. When I arrived I realized the scale of the film that this potentially would be. We were in this massive studio with 50 ft walls painted green-screen and there were horses on one side. It was like we were going to get on horses for an audition for a screen test.  On the other side they had built an old souk medina type of thing. Somewhere else there was a palace lounge in this massive studio space. I had to ask someone ‘this is still the audition right?’ and they were ‘yeah it’s the screen test’.  I just couldn’t believe it. I was doing a rehearsal with Tahar Rahim and I’d just seen his film “Un Prophete” recently before the audition. So I just turned to him and went ‘Ajeeb habibi, Ajeeb’, which is a line from Un Prophete. He just burst out laughing and he couldn’t carry on the scene. I felt a bit bad but Jean-Jacques seemed to like it and he was like actually maybe there is a good energy between you guys.
 
You play the character of ‘Ali’ who is the main character Auda's half brother. Tell us a bit about him
My character Ali is quite different to the rest of the characters in the film because he’s western educated and he’s quite cynical and he doesn’t really feel like he belongs in the traditional conservative monarchy of his father King Amar.  He’s quite critical of their ways and particularly the way that they obey a very narrow-minded religious authority, the Uluma. Because of that he’s almost like this Shakespearean fool in that he slightly sits outside of the inner-circle but when he’s let in it’s a chance for him to say what he thinks and to kind of undercut everything with his sarcasm. So he’s sometimes almost an outside eye on the other people in the film and their community and their values.
 
Much of the film is shot in stunning desert locations in Tunisia and Qatar. These scenes must have been tough
They were really tough but also pretty amazing. There was one scene in particular which we shot in Qatar by the coast. They have these sand dunes that go directly from the desert into the ocean. It’s just an amazing sight in itself. I’ll never forget that day when we charged down the top of the hill with about 50 camels and 200 guys down a sheer slope of a sand dune and just ran down right into the sea in all our clothes and our crazy prosthetic sunburn makeup. It’s a pretty beautiful kind of sight to see and even better to literally throw yourself into that kind of environment.  It’s a lot different to London so I’ll remember that.
 
Producer Ben Ammar said he wanted a film which had a positive portrayal of the Arab world and Islam – do you think he’s achieved this in Black Gold?
Definitely. It’s a film where all the heroes are Arab and Muslims, the story is told from their point of view and it’s authentic. So hopefully the audience will agree with us
 
The film also stars Freida Pinto, who’s also your co-star in another forthcoming movie ‘Trishna’. Now I’d ask what it was like filming back to back projects with Frieda, but you didn’t actually meet on the sets of Black Gold did you?
That’s right. We didn’t have any scenes together on Black Gold
 
I can’t not mention Antonio Banderas – what was he like to work with?
I actually didn’t have any scenes with Antonio either!
 
Looking ahead you’ve got a busy few weeks coming up with the release of Black Gold and Trishna – what does the rest of 2012 hold for you? Equally as busy?
It’s going to be really busy year with those two films. I’ve also got Mira Nair’s Reluctant Fundamentalist, I’m in Plan B’s directorial debut and I’ve also got a new album coming out.
 
Finally Riz, why should we go and see Black Gold?
It’s unlike any other film you’ll see this year. It’s got huge action scenes, amazing landscape, romance and love as well as a lot of humour from my character. It’s a 21st century version of those classic, sweeping epics for the whole family.
 
Black Gold releases in cinemas 24 February 2012

Comments

Latest Stories

Sonakshi Sinha
Actress Takes Time to Talk to The Asian Today About Bollywood Showstoppers
Neeru Bajwa
Star of Aa Gaye Munde U.K De Talks to The Asian Today
Salman Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez
Stars of Kick Talk to The Asian Today
Kavita Oberoi
The Not So Secret OBE
Saqib Bhatti
President of the Institute of Asian Businesses
Vidya Balan
The Bollywood Actress Talks Bobby Jasoos
Jas Sansi
A Day in the Life
Dal Dhaliwal
A Day in the Life
Foji Gill
Releases Mentah
EXCLUSIVE: Interview With the Cast of Khandan
Rez Kempton and Preeya Kalidas Talk to The Asian Today

More Interviews From The Asian Today


Entertainment

Asian Entertainment - The movie stars Amitabh Bachchan, Dhanush and Akshara Haasan
27/08/2014
Eros International and R. Balki team up for 'Shamitabh'
Following the phenomenal success of English Vinglish worldwide, Eros International Media...
Asian Entertainment - Singer Biba Singh works with UK-based music producer Dipps Bhamra on the track
22/08/2014
US Singer Biba Singh Set To Release "Panga Facebook Da"
  New York based doctor and singer Biba Singh is set to release her first eve...
Asian Entertainment - The movie is exclusively available to Netflix members in the UK & Ireland
21/08/2014
Bollywood Blockbuster Dhoom: 3 Exclusively on Netflix
Starting today, Dhoom: 3 is exclusively available to Netflix members in the UK & I...
Asian Entertainment - The shows will showcase the best in South Asian Music and Arts
21/08/2014
BBC Asian Network Announces New Sunday Shows
  BBC Asian Network are set to introduce changes to its Sunday schedule from late ...

Interviews

Asian Interviews - MANRINA REKHI
13/01/2014
DAY IN THE LIFE OF…..
Every month we will be bringing you an exclusive insight of a day in the life of an in...
Asian Interviews - BRITAINS FAVOURITE ASIAN FAMILY RETURN WITH A NEW SERIES
09/01/2014
THE KUMARS AT NO 42 ARE BACK!!
With the announcement of The Kumars at Number 42 returning to television, The Asian To...
Asian Interviews - Sunny Malik from The Asian Today interviews the Bollywood actress
19/12/2013
Dhoom 3: Interview with Katrina Kaif
Katrina Kaif is once again the female in a Yash Raj Films production. The British Indi...
Asian Interviews - Promoting their upcoming film Gori Tere Pyaar Mein
05/12/2013
Kareena Kapoor Khan and Imran Khan talk to The Asian Today about
Bollywood royalty Kareena Kapoor Khan and Imran Khan flew down to London to promote th...

News

Asian News - TV Licensing will be reaching out to citizens in Handsworth and Lozells
27/08/2014
Birmingham Community Outreach Programme Announced By TV Licensing
    TV Licensing will be reaching out to members of the Handsworth and Lozells...
Asian News - Mohammed Khan arrested when police found missing girl Sabeela Waid in his flat
26/08/2014
Sparkhill Man Remanded On Child Abduction Charges
A teenager who has been missing for almost a month from her West Bromwich home has bee...
Asian News - Awais Haider was born to proud parents Ayshia and Haider Zaman
26/08/2014
Miracle Baby Born After 13 Miscarriages
A Birmingham couple, who for almost two decades feared they would never hold a baby ...
Asian News - Birmingham has been named the worst city for bootleg cigarettes in the UK
22/08/2014
Birmingham Infamous for Counterfeit Cigarettes
Birmingham has been named the worst city for bootleg cigarettes in the UK after 120 pa...

Sport

Asian Sport - Kerala Blasters FC will play in the Hero Indian Super League in October
21/08/2014
Ex-Newcastle Striker Michael Chopra Signs To Kerala Blasters FC
    English footballer of Indian origin, Michael Chopra, has confirmed his s...
Asian Sport - Dhoni Fights Lone Battle as India Look to Avoid Follow- on
30/07/2014
England vs India, 3rd Test - Day 3
India were trailing by 246 runs with two wickets in hand at the end of Day 3 of the thir...
Asian Sport - Ballance and Bell Slam Tons as England Pile Up
29/07/2014
England vs India, 3rd Test - Day 2
England were firmly in control of the third Test at the end of Day 2 at the Ageas Bowl in ...
Asian Sport - Jos Buttler Will Replace Matt Prior
25/07/2014
England Announce Squad for Third Test
England have announced their 13-member squad for the third Test against India at Rose Bowl...