Riz Ahmed has a "yo-yoing" relationship with Britain.
The 38-year-old star admits he has complicated feelings about his home country and although he loves "everything that makes Britain Britain" he can't help but feel like an outsider on occasions due to what has happened with Brexit and politics.
In a new interview with Esquire.com/uk, Riz - who was born in Wembley, London, to a British-Pakistani family - explained: "There’s this kind of yo-yoing, I love you, I leave you, that goes on between Britain and its post colonial population. You don’t want us in the colonies, but come and help us rebuild after WWII. We see it during COVID and Brexit - the same politicians who are saying make Britain more British are singing the praises of multiracial key workers.
“I love my home and my home is Britain. I think our idea of Britain can be as expansive or narrow as we want. It can be a kind of nostalgia that didn’t contain people like us or it can reflect the reality that built Britain, which spans across the globe—it’s more of a globalist position than a nationalist position, because the sun never set on the British empire. I’m not a die hard flag-waving patriot.
"I actually feel that this idea of nation states is outdated when it comes to the challenges we face like climate or big tech or tax evasion even.
"So when I say I love Britain, I mean love everything that makes Britain Britain.
The 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' actor says one of things that upsets him now about British society is that people seem to have lost their "common sense" and become too "tribal" when it comes to politics, but he is confident that the nation can regain that now that Brexit is done and the UK has left the European Union.
He said: "I think that what has been lost—and can be regained—is common sense. When people get scared they get their backs up against the wall and get very tribal. But we can move beyond it, it’s just a matter of what time horizon we’re looking at. Things might get more grim before they get better, but we have to believe they’ll get better!”
Riz is approaching his 40th birthday and after achieving success as an actor with starring roles in movies such as 'Nightcrawler', 'Venom' and 'Sound of Metal' his goal is now to help people coming through reach the heights he has.
He said: "I’m approaching my 40s now. What does making my mark mean? Is it about being sharp elbowed and ambitious even if it means leaving people behind? Or is it more about accepting the gifts and the curses you’ve inherited and trying to pass them along in slightly better shape? When you start out you have this view of like, ‘I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that.’ But now, I think more about where can we get to collectively. How can I knock the ball further forwards, so that other people can knock the ball further forwards and I’ll meet you further up the pitch?”