Wes Anderson’s New Movie Is Way More Exciting Thanks To This 14-Year-Old Comedy With 83% On RT

Wes Anderson’s New Movie Is Way More Exciting Thanks To This 14-Year-Old Comedy With 83% On RT


  • Riz Ahmed’s deadpan comedic chops make him a perfect fit for Wes Anderson’s unique style of humor.
  • The Phoenician Scheme features a star-studded cast, including Bill Murray and Benicio del Toro.
  • Ahmed joins the ranks of first-time Anderson actors, like Michael Cera, adding to the director’s eclectic ensemble.

Wes Anderson has cast Riz Ahmed in his latest movie, The Phoenician Scheme, and Ahmed’s role in a beloved cult classic proves he has the deadpan comedic chops to pull off an Anderson role. The Phoenician Scheme is the reason why Anderson wasn’t present to accept his Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film at the latest Oscars. He was too busy shooting The Phoenician Scheme in Berlin to accept a trophy for The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar. As production has continued, Anderson has rounded out the cast of his new movie.

No details have been revealed about Ahmed’s character, but he’s confirmed to be a part of the cast (via Empire). There’s no word on the plot of the movie, either, although it’s confirmed to be a three-hander in the adventure genre, which sounds similar to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Anderson is directing from a script that he co-wrote with regular collaborator Roman Coppola. Even without knowing what role Ahmed is playing or what the movie is about, it’s clear that he’s a perfect choice for the Anderson oeuvre.

Riz Ahmed Has Been Cast In Wes Anderson’s The Phoenician Scheme

Ahmed is the latest actor to be cast in The Phoenician Scheme, likely in a supporting role. The film is set to star Benicio del Toro, who Anderson has teased will be featured in every single shot. The cast also features Bill Murray, marking yet another collaboration with Anderson after he had to sit out Asteroid City, and Mia Threapleton. The story has been teased to focus on the relationship between a father and daughter, so Threapleton is likely playing the role of the daughter (since she’s the only woman in the cast), with del Toro probably playing the father.

It’s surprising that Ahmed has found room in his schedule for The Phoenician Scheme, because he’s been quite busy lately. Last year, he played Amir, caught in a love triangle with Jessie Buckley and Jeremy Allen White’s characters, in the Apple TV+ sci-fi romantic drama Fingernails and voiced Ballister Boldheart in Netflix’s Oscar-nominated fantasy adventure Nimona. Ahmed’s other upcoming projects include a new movie adaptation of Hamlet, in which he’s playing the title role, and the David Mackenzie-directed thriller Relay.

Filming for
The Phoenician Scheme
began on March 12, 2024.

Ahmed Gave A Wonderfully Deadpan Comedic Performance In Four Lions

Riz Ahmed with a rocket launcher in Four Lions

A requirement of actors in Anderson’s movies is deadpan comedic abilities. Anderson’s films have a very dry sense of humor and the actors have to deliver their lines in a very specific way for that humor to land effectively. Actors like Ralph Fiennes, Owen Wilson, Gene Hackman, and Anjelica Huston have nailed that deadpan delivery style in the past. The Phoenician Scheme’s other actors, Murray and del Toro, have also nailed this deadpan style. Ahmed’s most iconic comedy role proves that he’ll easily nail his line deliveries in Anderson’s latest opus.

In 2010, Ahmed starred in Chris Morris’ classic British comedyFour Lions. Ahmed plays Omar, the leader of a group of homegrown terrorist jihadis planning a bombing attack at the London Marathon. Ahmed had arguably the toughest job in the movie – playing the “straight man” amidst the wacky antics – and he knocked it out of the park. Throughout the film, Omar is increasingly frustrated by his cohorts’ buffoonery, and Ahmed got huge laughs with every exasperated outburst. This style of humor is ideal for Anderson’s uniquely quirky cinematic universe.

Ahmed Isn’t The Only First-Time Anderson Actor In The Phoenician Scheme Cast

Michael Cera as Allan shouting in Barbie

Ahmed isn’t the only newcomer to Anderson’s company of actors who’s been cast in The Phoenician Scheme. Michael Cera is also making his first appearance in an Anderson movie in The Phoenician Scheme. Like Ahmed, Cera has the perfect deadpan style for an Anderson role. With his roles in Barbie, This is the End, and Arrested Development, Cera has brought plenty of eccentricity to the screen without overdoing it and sacrificing the subtlety or human truth. It’ll be interesting to see what he does with a role in an Anderson movie.

Ahmed and Cera might be first-time actors in the Wes Anderson canon, but they’re in good company. Del Toro previously appeared in the first segment of The French Dispatch and Murray has appeared in various capacities in every single Anderson movie besides Bottle Rocket and Asteroid City. If The Phoenician Scheme works out, Ahmed and Cera could join Murray and del Toro in the director’s regular company.

Source: Empire

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