‘Mogul Mowgli’ Star Riz Ahmed Said 22-Pound Weight Loss Was ‘Grueling’

  • Riz Ahmed lost 22 pounds in three weeks for his new role in “Mogul Mowgli.”
  • The actor plays a Pakistani rapper who is diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.
  • Ahmed worked with a dietitian but told IndieWire the process “was really grueling.”

Riz Ahmed’s latest role involves a physical transformation that took him “emotionally to an intense place.”

The 38-year-old actor discussed his latest role as Zed in “Mogul Mowgli” in an interview with IndieWire. Ahmed, who plays a Pakistani rapper with an autoimmune disease, said that he lost 22 pounds in three weeks for the role.

“I had a professional dietitian working with me, but it was really grueling and took me emotionally to an intense place, which probably informed the movie,” Ahmed said.

“That was a big part of it, being in a place of weakness and fatigue and insatiable hunger,” he continued.

As reported by Insider’s Emily DiNuzzo, rapid

weight loss
can be incredibly risky, even for actors with plenty of resources and support such as Chris Hemsworth, George Clooney, and Joaquin Phoenix.

Ahmed referenced something Oscar-winner Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Get Out”) once said about the craft of acting.

“Dan Kaluuya said something I liked: ‘If you’re in your head, you’re dead,'” Ahmed told IndieWire. “I think that’s true. Acting has to be in your body. Anything that brings you into your body centers you, and you can perform in that place.” 

“Mogul Mowgli” was released earlier this year in other countries, is now showing in theaters in the US. 

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