It’s been a great year for Riz Ahmed as far as his acting career goes. It’s tough to top joining the “Star Wars” universe, as he’s done with the role of Bohdi Rook in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
He also starred in the HBO limited series, “The Night Of,” where he played Nasir Khan, a Pakistani-American college student accused of murder. During the time his character is in jail while the court case is going on, he slowly transforms into a drug user. His other credits include “Jason Bourne,” “Nightcrawler” and “Day of the Falcon.”
Ahmed’s way of becoming part of both projects shows a lot of faith by the London-born actor.
“I said I would do ‘Rogue One’ without seeing a script,” Ahmed says. “And with ‘The Night Of,’ I only saw the first script. It wasn’t until two months before we started filming that I got the other scripts and saw what was going on. All I was told at the start was the character was going to go to jail and would go through stuff. I signed on purely on how great the writing was in the first script.”
His decision to be part of “Rogue One” could have gone wrong since the character described to him by director Gareth Edwards completely changed by the time filming started. The character evolved as the filming went along.
It was his longtime love of “Star Wars” that made him leap at a chance to be part of the franchise. Ahmed jokes he would have agreed to be in “Rogue One” even if it meant playing a stormtrooper. He was too young to see “A New Hope” in the theaters, but he recalls becoming a fan early through all of the toys.
There’s really only one thing that has gone wrong this year for Ahmed: Being part of the “Star Wars” world means getting an action figure. Ahmed’s upset his figure doesn’t look like him and looks more like co-star Diego Luna.
That is a little like complaining you have been given free ice cream for life, but you have to endure endless sprinkles and chocolate syrup.
Show is full of “Bull”
One of the biggest TV hits launched in the fall is the CBS legal drama “Bull.”
Michael Weatherly, who played Tony DiNozzo on “NCIS” for 13 years, takes on the role of Dr. Jason Bull. The series is loosely based on Dr. Phil McGraw’s career before he joined the ranks of daytime talk.
The series has been a big change for Weatherly.
“The interesting thing about playing the DiNozzo character vs. this is that DiNozzo was a guy who sought validation and approval and was very hungry for that. And Bull is not hungry for that. He doesn’t need that,” Weatherly says.
Though much of “Bull” takes place in courtrooms, Weatherly is quick to point out that this really isn’t a law show. The series focuses on Bull’s company that studies jury selections and how they are leaning toward a trial. The psychological elements of trying a case are the real focus of the show.
The fact Weatherly that embraces this part of the series is why McGraw knew he was the right actor for the role.
“When I first met Michael and we started talking about it, I always found that people are either psychologically minded or they’re not,” McGraw says.
“They kinda either get the hydraulics of human behavior and emotion or they don’t, and he so got it so quick and started layering and texturing this character and everything involved in it. I thought we just hit the lottery. I mean, it was just absolutely a home run.”
McGraw’s evaluation was right as “Bull” has been a consistent ratings hit for the network.
Not top dollar: Forbes has released its list of the most overpaid actors in Hollywood and for the second straight year, Johnny Depp has topped the list. That’s based on the financial flop of “Alice Through the Looking Glass.”
Will Smith was second.
Mark your calendars: The AMC series “Humans” is scheduled to return for a second season starting at 10 p.m. Feb. 13. The series is set in a parallel present and explores what happens when the line between humans and machines is blurred.
Deal made: CBS and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts have reached a new agreement that will keep the annual “Kennedy Center Honors” on CBS through 2025. The new deal further extends one of the longest broadcast partnerships in television history. The special has been broadcast on CBS each year since its debut in 1978.