Riz Ahmed Says Venom Put Him Off Starring In Blockbusters

riz ahmed venom

Riz Ahmed has spent the last decade establishing himself as one of the most versatile and talented actors in the business, with a string of acclaimed performances in multiple genres finding him constantly showered in adulation, with an Emmy win and nominations at the Golden Globes and Academy Awards under his belt.

However, if your only experience of him came from watching him as Venom villain Carlton Drake, you may have found yourself wondering what all the fuss was about. On paper, the prospect of seeing Ahmed go toe-to-toe with Tom Hardy in a blockbuster comic book adaptation was mouth-watering, but Ahmed’s big bad is almost shockingly flat and one-dimensional.

In a new interview with Variety, the 38-year-old explained that his uninspired work was down to his lack of experience and comfort working in such an effects-heavy environment, and it’s put him off the idea of returning to that type of filmmaking ever since.

“I’m not saying I don’t like those big movies. I’m saying I had not learned yet how to bring myself to those movies. Those films teach you stamina, technical craft, and it is a skill to be able to eke out your artistry in that setting. Look at Javier Bardem in Skyfall. I just hadn’t developed the skill set at that point to do the technical thing and the emotional thing. The idea of making masks and wearing masks is something that came very naturally to me, as someone who grew up code-switching between different cultural environments and class environments.

Shape-shifting to fit into other molds. Acting became an extension of that, and more recently what I’ve thought about it is taking masks off. Of course, if you believe on some deep internal level that you aren’t the right type, the right color, shape, size, accent, then you will start instinctively wearing masks. So it’s been a shift in self-perception for me to say, ‘You know what? I am enough. We are all enough’.”

He was solid in Rogue One two years prior, but Venom appears to have soured him on the studio tentpole. He did strike up a friendship with his Mogul Mowgli director Bassam Tariq, though, so maybe he’ll end up reuniting with the filmmaker on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Blade reboot.