Riz Ahmed might have shot to fame opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in the 2014 indie thriller Nightcrawler, which earned him an Indie Spirit Award nomination, but the British actor tells EW the level of detail involved in making his latest project, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, has him soaring even higher on creative inspiration.
The 33-year old actor and rapper says he’s been following Star Wars since he was a kid, mesmerized by the spectacular aesthetics in George Lucas’ films. “To be honest, I didn’t follow the storyline or the complexity of what was going on, but I just remember these images seared onto [my] brain because it was just a series of trippy set pieces for me,” he recalls. “It’s like, Jabba the Hutt, and [Leia’s looking] pretty good in a bikini, and someone’s getting carved out of stone with a laser beam now… being a part of that universe is just a privilege.”
Ahmed joins the cinematic world of Star Wars later this year in the spin-off Rogue One, which tells the story of a group of Rebels who attempt to steal plans for the Death Star as a means to quell the Empire’s planet-destroying scheme. Directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla), Rogue One — according to Ahmed — features a set designed with impeccable craftsmanship that inspired a sense of wonderment similar to the one he felt while watching the original movies.
“The level of attention to detail and care that goes into building that world is just unbelievable. All the set designers, the costume designers, the world they create is so detailed you would not believe it,” Ahmed says. “You pick up any random prop and it’s got a touch screen with buttons and alien writing on it and you’re just like, ‘Wow, I‘ve got to up my game.’ I stole so many props… just check [on] eBay.”
Rogue One, which also introduces actors Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Forest Whitaker and Mads Mikkelsen to the Star Wars universe, opens in theaters Dec. 16. Watch Ahmed dish on the film’s aesthetics in the video above, and check out the film’s teaser trailer in the clip below.