EXCLUSIVE: Fresh from his Emmy win for HBO’s The Night Of, Riz Ahmed is setting up a feature role, and it will be one of Shakespeare’s greatest characters. The actor is sealing a deal with Netflix to star in his contemporary adaptation of Hamlet. The version was developed by the actor with writer Mike Lesslie (Macbeth, Assassins Creed), whom he’d known from college.
Set in a modern-day London of economic and political uncertainty, the story follows the intersecting themes of familial honor, moral duty and dynastic corruption. Jim Wilson (Under the Skin, Attack the Block, You Were Never Really There) will produce. Netflix will finance and distribute.
Ahmed, also known for his activism (essay in The Good Immigrant and speech at the House of Commons), will use this project to continue his quest to bring stories and roles with social impact to the forefront. Ahmed became the first man of South Asian descent to win at the Emmys and only the second Asian actor in history to win when he took home the trophy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie at the 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards last month.
His film credits include Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Nightcrawler and Four Lions. He also is known as one half of the rap duo Swet Shop Boys.
His global impact landed him the cover of Time magazine’s Most Influential People in 2017.
Ahmed, next seen next starring in The Sister Brother opposite Joaquin Phoenix and Nightcrawler colleague Jake Gyllenhaal, is repped by CAA, Gordon and French in the UK and law firm Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown.