- The British Pakistani Oscar-winning actor, musician, and activist is in Cannes to promote the sci-fi love story and discuss a modern adaptation of “Hamlet” with British Indian director Aneil Karia.
British Pakistani actor and Oscar winner Riz Ahmed has been cast in Greek director Christos Nikou’s English-language feature film debut “Fingernails,” Deadline has revealed. Ahmed will be joined by actress Jessie Buckley in a lead role.
Deadline described the film as a “grounded sci-fi love story.” It revolves around a test that has been discovered that measures whether couples are truly in love. Anna (Buckley) is skeptical of the positive result she’s received with her longtime partner, so she starts working in a love institute as an assistant to Trevor (Ahmed), a mysterious, dedicated instructor.
The film is co-written by Nikou, along with Sam Steiner and Nikou’s pandemic film “Apples” co-writer Stavros Raptis. It is being produced by Cate Blanchett’s Dirty Films along with FilmNation Entertainment, which is launching sales of the film in the Cannes market. Jerome Duboz will serve as executive producer.
But this is not the only film Ahmed is promoting at Cannes. The “Sound Of Metal “ actor is once again teaming up with his “The Long Goodbye” director Aneil Karia for a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic “Hamlet,” which is being launched by WME Independent at the Cannes market, as reported by Deadline. Ahmed and Karia are in Cannes “to discuss the project with buyers at a presentation,” Deadline added.
Ahmed will star in the role of Hamlet, a man haunted by his father’s ghost and driven to increasingly unstable heights. “The new version of the classic will see Hamlet move through London’s elite circles and attend exuberant parties, going to violent lengths to avenge his father and prove his uncle guilty,” according to the Deadline report.
The Indian-Pakistani origin Oscar duo told Deadline that this version of
“Hamlet” is “about race, privilege, corruption,” and “belongs to a wealthy British Indian family who buy their way up the English establishment at great personal cost.” They described the film as “an urgent story told in a bold way, that will grab hold of audiences and won’t let go.” Noting that their aim is to bring “Hamlet” to life by setting it in our own community,” they said they “want to crack this timeless story open for a wider audience – with a diverse cast, a contemporary London setting, and by injecting classical verse with the energy of rap, a genre which we have both worked in extensively.”
Ahmed won the 2022 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film for “The Long Goodbye.” He co-wrote, produced, and stars in the short film where he plays Riz, whose British-Pakistani family encounters far-right marchers with terrible consequences. The 12-minute film shares its name with the 2020 album by Ahmed, which was inspired, in part, by the rise of far-right political groups and anti-immigration rhetoric in the post-Brexit U.K. The film incorporates music from Ahmed’s album. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film, “which culminates in a searing monologue from Ahmed, is a terrifying look at an everyday nightmare for members of certain marginalized communities.”
Last year, Ahmed made history by becoming the first Muslim to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for “Sound of Metal.” He was also nominated for a BAFTA, and SAG Award for the same film, and he won the Gotham Award and Indie Spirit Award. He previously won an Emmy for HBO’s “The Night Of.”
Some of his future projects include “The Son of Good Fortune” at Amazon along with Lulu Wang. The two will develop and executive produce the comedy series based on the novel of the same name by Lysley Tenorio, about an undocumented Filipino teenager in the Bay area navigating a tumultuous relationship with his former B-movie action star mother, falling in love for the first time, and working out how to pay back a massive debt before his whole life crumbles.
He is also working on a film adaptation of author Mosin Hamid’s best-selling book, “Exit West,” directed by Yann Demange, which is being produced by the Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground Productions, The New York Times reported earlier.