Riz began his film career in The Road to Guantanamo, in which he played Shafiq Rasul, a member of the Tipton Three. He followed that up with the TV drama Britz and two miniseries Dead Set and Wired. He auditioned for 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire and although he didn’t get the part. He went on to appear in the title role of the film Shifty and was nominated for Best Actor at the British Independent Film Award. In 2009, he appeared in the films Freefall and Rage. In 2010, he had a supporting role in the film Centurion and Four Lions, which he received his second British Independent Film Award nomination for Best Actor. He received a third nomination in 2012 for the film Ill Manorsalong with a nomination for the 2012 Shooting Stars Award, an award given to Europe’s leading young stars which is held every year at the Berlin Film Festival. In 2012, he was the lead in Mira Nair’s adaption of the best selling novel by Moshin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
Riz’s breakout role and when I first noticed him, was as Rick in Nightcrawler opposite my boy Jake Gyllenhaal. He received acclaim for his portrayal in the film and gained numerous award nominations during award season. He then landed a role in action/thriller film Jason Bourne opposite Matt Damon before landing the lead role in the the HBO miniseries The Night Of. The show and his performance received high praise, earning him Golden Globe and SAG nominations. Then there was his role in that little Star Wars film and also in the Netflix series The OA. Riz can next be seen in a few episodes of HBO’s Girls as Lena Dunham’s love interest. And now that he’s got stylist Ilaria Urbinati dressing him, he’s been a real pleasure to watch on the red carpet! Nothing like a gorgeous man in a tailored suit!
What I didn’t know, is that Riz is also known by his hip-hop alias Riz MC. He released his first single in 2006, “Post 9/11 Blues”, an observational satire about the surreal choices of fear that time. The track was temporarily banned from British airplay and caught the attention of notorious satirist Chris Morris who cast him in his BAFTA-winning movie, Four Lions. In 2007, Riz was selected as a BBC Introducing artist playing the Glastonbury Festival and the BBC Electric Proms. In 2008, he opened the Meltdown Festival with trip-hop group Massive Attack at the Royal Festival Hall. In 2009, he played at the London Camp for Climate Action. Riz also co-founded Hit & Run night in Oxford, which has since moved to Manchester and has gone on to become one of Manchester’s leading underground music events. Riz is also half of the hip hop duo the Swet Shop Boys. Their debut release, SwetShop EP was released in 2014. Their debut album Cashmere was released in 2016 and received critical acclaim.
In 2016, Riz released Englistan, a nine-track mixtape. He is also featured in the chart topping “Hamilton Mixtape”, which happened to put him on the Billboard album chart and the Box Office at the same time in December. So, if this acting thing doesn’t pan out, I think our boy will be okay. 😉