An acclaimed international author and a rock star actor walk into a New York cafe.
They sit down at the same table, start setting up their laptops, accidentally brush hands as they jostle for the same power point.
Sparks fly. They strike up a friendship, and sometime in the near future, friendship turns into something more.
A little while later, the actor proposes to the author with scrabble tiles, during a romantic picnic in the middle of lockdown.
No, this isn't the plot of a Nora Ephron movie starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It's the love story between Sound of Metal star Riz Ahmed and New York Times bestselling author Fatima Farheen Mirza.
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At the time of their first meeting, Riz was preparing for his role in Sound of Metal. Fatima had just been named an instant New York Times bestselling author for her debut novel, A Place For Us. They had both gone to the cafe that day to get some writing done.
“We met so randomly, while I was preparing for Sound of Metal, when I was in New York. We just both sat down at the same table in a cafe, where we both turned up to write. We were both jostling over the same laptop plug points, like a very modern way of meeting," Riz told Jimmy Fallon during an appearance on The Tonight Show.
“We struck up a friendship and then we reconnected down the line. But it’s weirdly one of the many things about preparing for this role that was so special. It just brought a lot of goodness into my life.”
In 2020, during lockdown, Riz and Fatima went for a picnic in a local park. They played a game of scrabble and Riz lined up the tiles to read "Will you marry me?"
“I did that corny thing where I stole all the correct letters up and spelled out will you marry me?’” he told Jimmy Kimmel during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
According to Riz, Fatima first responded with "You're joking!" before saying yes.
The couple married in a private ceremony in a backyard late last year.
“Obviously, kept it super intimate and socially distanced. There was just, like, hardly anyone there, really,” Riz said at the time, adding, “We did it in a backyard, which is nice in lots of ways. And I think the nicest thing about it was you didn’t have 500 aunties hanging around you, pinching your cheeks.”
Most of us first met Riz as Nasir 'Naz' Khan, a man accused of murder, in the 2016 eight-part HBO series, The Night Of. Some of us will remember his brief - but impactful - role at the end of Girls. In 2017, he won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for his role in The Night Of, making him the first Asian male to win an acting Emmy, and the first Muslim and Asian to win a lead acting Emmy.