“The Night Of” actor Riz Ahmed has a somewhat bleak outlook on where his character ended up after the conclusion of the HBO series.
“No one’s really the same when they come out of prison,” Ahmed, who currently plays pilot Bodhi Rook in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” told TheWrap.
“A lot of people seem to transition back into normal everyday life, or they get jobs, but those scars stay with you. That kind of sense of weariness, and those trust issues stay with you.”
The actor, who is a Golden Globe and Emmy contender for his leading role, cited a real news story that came out when the Steve Zaillian drama was filming, that of Kalief Browder, a 16-year-old New Yorker who was wrongfully accused of stealing a backpack, held at Rikers Island without trial for three years, then killed himself after his release.
The scenario is similar to Ahmed’s “Night Of” character Naz, who was freed after a hung jury, but emerged as a much-changed person thanks to his time on Rikers.
“I would like to think [Nas is] still holding on, surviving,” Ahmed said. “But it’s clear at the end of the show that, you know, he’s got a substance abuse problem, and he’s alone. I think that’s the big thing, that sense of isolation. And also, he wasn’t found innocent. He wasn’t exonerated, so he’s got that hanging over him as a cloud.”
In the video above, Ahmed also describes the two-year gap between filming the pilot and the rest of the series, and the one scene he filmed with James Gandolfini.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” hits theaters Dec. 16.