Last month, Riz Ahmed and The Daily Show host Trevor Noah spoke about Ahmed’s upcoming role in the blockbuster hit Venom.  In the movie, Ahmed, a British Pakistani actor, played the role of an egotistical genius bent on proving he was the smartest man in the world through dubious means.  During the interview Noah mentioned how refreshing the actor’s character was “pointing out that Middle Eastern or South Asian actors are often cast as “bad guy number four, terrorist number seven.””

During the conversation Ahmed, replied that, while not a fan of the whole diversity term, is a fan of representation which should be take into account people’s various perspectives.  As Ahmed stated, it’s “weird” that “it is considered “remarkable” that he can play a range of characters, when, as he says, “that’s the basis of acting itself.””

 

According to Ahmed,

I don’t like to talk about diversity. I feel like it sounds like an added extra. It sounds like the fries, not the burger. It sounds like something on the side. You got your main thing going on, and you sprinkle a little bit of diversity on top of that. That’s not what it’s about for me. It’s about representation. And representation is absolutely fundamental in terms of what we expect from our culture and from our politics. We all want to feel represented. We all want to feel seen and heard and valued. So I prefer to talk about representation.

“Ahmed, who last year became the first man of Asian descent to win an acting Emmy, has even inspired an initiative to improve the representation of Muslims in film and television. The Riz Test, similar to the Bechdel Test for sexism in film, measures how well a piece of media represents Muslim characters.”