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Riz Ahmed very much grounded for role in alien flick ‘Encounter’

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Riz Ahmed very much grounded for role in alien flick ‘Encounter’

The aliens are coming! That, at least, is the set up for Riz Ahmed’s desperate Malik Khan in Friday’s Amazon Prime “Encounter.”

Khan takes his two young sons from the home they share with his ex, determined to get far from LA to survive the aliens that are seemingly everywhere.

It’s an immediate, arresting premise — but what made it irresistible for Ahmed coming off a career highpoint with his Best Actor Oscar-nominated performance in last year’s “Sound of Metal”?

“For me,” Ahmed, 39, said in a Zoom interview, “it was (screenwriter-director) Michael Pearce. It was how confident, assured and bold his last film (2017’s “Beast”) was.

“When I read the script. I found it to be a real page turner with really complex people. I realized that I had not played a dad, I had not played a soldier — and I was scared of doing that.

“I thought, OK, whenever you’re slightly scared of something you should move toward it. You might learn something. Being out of your comfort zone, interesting things might happen.”

Married but not yet a parent, Ahmed believes, “Roles find me for a reason, and they try and teach you things. I don’t want to sound too much like a hippie but that’s always the case.

“One quick question for me in the pandemic — and I’ve lost family members — is: How do you protect your family in uncertain times? Is it about trying to take control, take charge? Or is it about letting go and trusting?

“That’s certainly the journey that Malik goes on, asking himself that question. It taught me a lot as well. About what real love is toward your family. It’s about acceptance.”

With a bit of a Texas twang in his speech, Malik certainly doesn’t sound like the Oxford-educated Brit he is. Is that where Ahmed begins?

“You have to start at multiple points at the same time I guess. It’s military training and physical training. There is research, interviewing people to understand their stories and their psychology and their experience. Then you’re working on the text and working with your acting coach. You do all that stuff and then there are also accents.

“For me part of the reason I record people is also to hear those accents. There’s a Houston element to Malik Khan, anchored in his early childhood and adolescence in the South.

“So, you start at these different starting points and they all converge.”

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State Fair reports 2021 operating loss, raises admission rates for 2022

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State Fair reports 2021 operating loss, raises admission rates for 2022

Although Minnesotans had to go without their beloved State Fair in 2020, it returned despite numerous pandemic-related obstacles in 2021 to become one of the best-attended North American events of the year, according to Fair officials.

In spite of the comeback, the Fair reported an operating loss of $1.3 million last year, general manager Jerry Hammer told the governing body of the Great Minnesota Get-Together on Sunday. When the Fair was canceled in 2020, the loss was $16.5 million, he said.

The Minnesota State Agricultural Society, which oversees the state’s end-of-summer ritual, held its the 163rd annual meeting in Bloomington over the weekend.

The 2022 State Fair will take place between Aug. 25 and Sept. 5. The new admission prices will be $17 for those 13-64 years old; people 5-12 and 65 and older will pay $15. Those under 4 are admitted for free. The increased price begins Feb. 1. Discount tickets will be on sale for $13 for all ages until Jan. 31 at mnstatefair.org/tickets.

Despite the operating loss, the 2021 Fair drew 1.3 million attendees, Hammer said, adding that pulling off the fair in 2021 amid the ongoing pandemic was “miraculous.”

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Baylor WR, 3-star OL commit to CU Buffs

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CU Buffs football early National Signing Day class of 2022

One of the top receivers for the Big 12 champs is coming to Boulder.

On Sunday, RJ Sneed II announced that he will play his final season of college football at Colorado after spending the previous five years at Baylor.

Also on Sunday, Van Wells, an offensive lineman from C.E. King High School in Houston, announced his verbal commitment to the Buffaloes after spending the weekend in Boulder on an official visit.

Listed at 6-foot-1, 203 pounds, Sneed helped Baylor go 12-2 and win the Big 12 championship game, as well as the Sugar Bowl this season. He was second for the Bears in catches (46) and receiving yards (573) and caught two touchdown passes.

During his career, Sneed has 133 catches for 1,564 yards and eight touchdowns. After playing minimally in 2017 and redshirting in 2018, Sneed finished third on the team in receptions (42) and yards (437) in 2019. In 2020, he led the Bears in receptions (39), receiving yards (497) and touchdowns (three) and earned second-team All-Big 12 honors.

A 2017 graduate of Cypress Ranch (Tex.) High School, Sneed was a three-star prospect who had 20 scholarship offers, including from Colorado. He had offers from 17 Power 5 schools, including Alabama, Mississippi, TCU, Arizona State, California, UCLA and Utah.

Sneed graduated from Baylor with a degree in health, kinesiology and leisure studies in August of 2020 and has been working on a master’s in sports pedagogy. He will have one season to play at CU.

With the Buffs, Sneed will provide production and veteran leadership to a group that has lost four players to the transfer portal this offseason: Chris Carpenter, Keith Miller, Brenden Rice and La’Vontae Shenault. Rice has not announced his destination, but Carpenter (UTSA), Miller (Texas A&M-Commerce) and Shenault (Alabama State) have committed to other schools.

Statistically, Rice was the Buffs’ top wide receiver this past season, but the Buffs are slated to return seniors Daniel Arias, Maurice Bell and Jaylon Jackson, junior Dimitri Stanley and sophomores Montana Lemonious-Craig, Chase Penry and Ty Robinson.

Also in the mix will be three incoming freshmen: Grant Page, Chase Sowell and Jordan Tyson.

A three-star prospect, Wells is rated by 247Sports.com as a top-75 interior lineman nationally in the 2022 class. He has 19 total scholarship offers, including from Air Force, Houston and Maryland.

Wells is the third lineman in CU’s class, joining tackles Carter Edwards and Travis Gray.

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WATCH: Tyrei Randall hits three-quarter-court OT buzzer beater to lift Metro State men’s basketball over Colorado Mesa

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WATCH: Tyrei Randall hits three-quarter-court OT buzzer beater to lift Metro State men’s basketball over Colorado Mesa

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