‘Sound of Metal’: Riz Ahmed & Director Darius Marder on Their Powerful Story about Hearing Loss

     September 26, 2019

One of the best films I saw at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was Sound of Metal. The film is the feature directorial debut of Darius Marder (co-writer of Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines) and it’s clear he’s a real talent that needs to be making more movies. Riz Ahmed stars as a heavy-metal drummer that starts to lose his hearing while on tour with his bandmate and girlfriend (Olivia Cooke). As we follow Riz’s character trying to deal with this huge life change while also trying not to fall back into his old addict ways, the film brilliantly explores the experience and the culture of people that are deaf without sentimentality. In addition, Darius uses closed captioning in a way I’ve never seen in a film and Riz Ahmed has never been better. Once you see the movie, it makes total sense why Amazon Studios bought the film at TIFF. Sound of Metal also stars Mathieu Amalric, Lauren Ridloff, and Paul Raci. For more on the film you can read Matt Goldberg’s glowing review.

sound-of-metal-riz-ahmed

Image via TIFF

Shortly after seeing the film I sat down with Riz Ahmed and Darius Marder at the Collider studio at TIFF. They shared some great stories about making the film, how Ahmed trained for eight months for the role, how they shot on film and in chronological order and what that meant for the production, why Marder didn’t allow playback on set, the longer cut of the film, the last thing removed from the film before they picture locked, how Ahmed was wearing these special implants which gave off white noise preventing him from hearing, and much more. In addition, Marder gives an update on the western he’s writing with Derek Cianfrance called Empire of the Summer Moon.

Check out what they had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about.

nordstrom-supper-suite-tiff-2019We also need to send a big thank you to our presenting sponsor Nordstrom Canada and supporting partners Marriott Bonvoy and Ciroc Vodka for supporting the Collider Lounge at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and helping to make these interviews happen.

Riz Ahmed and Darius Marder:

  • How have they been describing the film?
  • Riz talks about his reaction reading the script for the first time.
  • How Riz prepared for eight months for the role.
  • The dance scene in the trailer.
  • What were they nervous to pull off with the time and budget they had?
  • sound-of-metal-riz-ahmed-darius-marder-interviewHow they shot on film and how that raises the energy of the cast and crew.
  • How they shot chronological order and what that meant.
  • How Riz was wearing these special implants which gave off this white noise preventing him from hearing.
  • How Darius had Riz and Olivia play the actual music without fixing it in post.
  • What did Darius take away from working with Derek Cianfrance?
  • Editing room talk.
  • Why Darius didn’t allow playback on set.
  • How Darius’ assembly was over 4 hours and the first cut he was happy with was 2hr 45 min.
  • What was the last thing removed from the film before they picture locked?
  • Memorable moments from filming.
  • Darius gives an update on the western he’s writing with Derek Cianfrance called Empire of the Summer Moon.
  • Riz on the worldwide box office of Venom.
  • Riz on playing a British Pakistani rapper in Mughal Mowgli.

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