“Bohemian Rhapsody” star Rami Malek will be playing the villain facing off against Daniel Craig in the upcoming “Bond 25.” In a recent interview with The Mirror, however, he told the filmmakers that he would accept the role under one condition: the villain not be a religious fundamentalist or Arabic-speaking terrorist.
“It’s a great character and I’m very excited,” said Malek. “But that was one thing that I discussed with [director] Cary Fukunaga. I said, ‘We cannot identify him with any act of terrorism reflecting an ideology or a religion. That’s not something I would entertain, so if that is why I am your choice then you can count me out’. But that was clearly not his vision. So he’s a very different kind of terrorist.”
Malek added that the film has delivered “another extremely clever script from the people who have figured out exactly what people want in those movies.”
“But I feel a substantial weight on my shoulders,” he continued. “I mean, Bond is something that we all grow up with.”
Malek specified that his desire to see more positive representations of his ethnicity (Egyptian) motivated him to push the filmmakers away from a stereotypical representation.
“I am Egyptian. I grew up listening to Egyptian music. I loved Omar Sharif,” Malek said. “These are my people. I feel so gorgeously tied to the culture and the human beings that exist there.”
Malek’s statements on positive representation somewhat echoes his acceptance speech for Best Actor at the Academy Awards where he praised former “Queen” frontman Freddy Mercury (whom he portrayed in the film) as an example of a minority rising to fame in the West.
“I think about what it would have been like to tell little bubba Rami that one day this might happen to him, and I think his curly-haired mind would have been blown,” Malek said during his acceptance speech. “That kid was struggling with his identity … We made a film about a gay man and an immigrant who was unapologetically himself. It’s] proof we’re longing for stories like this. Part of my story is being written right now, and I could not be more grateful.”
Later backstage, Malek said that he always felt like an outsider growing up, being that he was born in Egypt and always had to struggle to with his identity.
“My sister was born in Egypt. I think when I grew up as a kid, part of me felt like I had to shed some of that. I didn’t feel like I fit in. I definitely felt like the outsider. As I grew up, I realized how beautiful my heritage is … now, I am so privileged to represent it,” he said. “I never thought this would happen in my life. The one thing I can say about this is, as an actor, and there are so many of us that dream of one thing — it’s just getting a job. So the fact that I have this in my hand right now, is beyond an expectation that myself or perhaps my family could have ever had. This has been a tough battle, I think you all know about that, and the fact that I’m back here, is proof that anything can be overcome.”