A Spotlight on the Man of the Moment, Rami Malek

The exceptionally talented actor with Egyptian roots has rocked the world with a performance that’s worthy of Freddie Mercury’s legacy.

While “Bohemian Rhapsody” has received mixed reviews, everyone agrees there is one thing about the movie that rocks as hard as Queen: Rami Malek's performance as Freddie Mercury. And the fact he helped turn the film about the legendary rock singer and the band he fronted into a worldwide box office smash has propelled Malek to international stardom.

The captivating Egyptian- American actor has fascinated audiences with his portrayal of the bombastic and charismatic frontman who died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1991.

Malek, 37, has Mercury’s big and bold stage moves down pat, including hand gestures, head movement and pursing of the lips, with the reenactment of Queen's 1985 Live Aid routine, which is considered one of the best rock performances in history, garnering particular praise. But his subtle expressions, also truly elevate his acting in the film that might just become the biggest-grossing music biopic of all time.

Even the original band members are astounded at how the childlike Malek lived the character, with Brian May, the lead guitarist, writing, “We sometimes forgot he was Rami” in an email. To nail the role Sacha Baron Cohen was originally meant to play, Malek did tons of research (he reportedly watched the Live Aid performance over 1,500 times on YouTube), took singing lessons and worked with a movement coach. And all his hard work seems to have definitely paid off, even generating lots of Oscar buzz.

Before the slight, youthful-looking Malek, who grew up Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, stepped into Mercury’s shoes, he was mostly known for his award-winning performance in the critically-acclaimed drama thriller “Mr. Robot.” He plays Elliot Alderson, a paranoid cyber security engineer and hacker who has social anxiety disorder and clinical depression. As well as the lead role, the actor has also been praised for the way he played Corporal Merriell "Snafu" Shelton on “The Pacific,” a World War II mini-series. Other TV shows Malek has starred in include “24” (as a suicide bomber) and “Gilmore Girls,” his first ever acting gig.

When it comes to the big screen, the actor, known for his dynamic sense of style and peculiar walk, made his feature film debut in 2006 as Pharaoh Ahkmenrah in the comedy “Night at the Museum.” And he went on to reprise the role for the sequels. Additionally, Malek, who was raised as a Coptic, got positive reviews for playing one man with two lives in  “Buster's Mal Heart,” the first movie in which he had a starring role. He has also appeared in “Larry Crowne,” “Battleship,” “Need for Speed” and the 2017 remake of “Papillon.”

Here are some more interesting facts to know about the actor:

  1. Malek, who has Egyptian parents, is a first generation American who was born and raised in Los Angeles. He has also said he has "an eighth Greek" ancestry.
  2. His late father, Said, was a tour guide in Cairo before immigrating to the US. He then went door-to-door selling insurance, while his mother worked as an accountant.

  3. Malek grew up speaking Arabic at home until the age of four. While he is no longer that fluent, he can still get by.
  4. The actor has a twin brother called Sami, who is four minutes younger than him. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, he said he gave Sami a push while graduatiing by helping him earn extra credits. He did this by pretending to be his brother when performing a Greek monologue. Rami also has an older sister, who is an ER doctor.

  5. He graduated from Notre Dame High School, where he had Rachel BIlson and Taylor Fry as classmates. Kirsten Dunst, whom he had a musical theatre class with, and Katharine McPhee were other famous students who attended at the school.

  6. Malek is the holder of a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Indiana’s University of Evansville, which honoured him with the Young Alumnus Award.

  7. His parents did not want him to become an actor. They dreamed of him becoming a doctor or lawyer so he could have good financial and social standing.

  8. A young Malek picked up part-time jobs delivering pizza and making shawarma and falafel sandwiches while struggling to find acting gigs when he started out in Hollywood.

  9. Malek became the first non-white actor in 18 years to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. His performance as Elliot Alderson in “Mr. Robot” also earned him a Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series, as well as nominations for a Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and TCA Award.

  10. The smooth-faced Malek is good friends with Bassam Habib, another Egyptian actor known for his roles in “Microphone,” “Messages from the Sea” and “Where Do We Go Now?”  

  11. While in the French capital early last year, Malek joined demonstrators rallying across the world to show solidarity with the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. “I'm in Paris and so proud to be @womensmarch. This global movement is truly empowering and important,” he posted on Instagram.

  12. In 2017, Malek was invited to become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

  13. The actor, who grew up a Queen fan, did really sing in “Bohemian Rhapsody” and practised every day to keep his voice on point while preparing for the role. However, the voices of Freddie Mercury and Canadian singer Marc Martel were also mixed in.

  14. He is dating Lucy Boynton, his 24-year-old “Bohemian Rhapsody” co-star. The American-English actress plays Freddie Mercury’s fiancée, Mary Austin. The couple was recently spotted putting on a loved-up display during a Rodeo Drive shopping trip.

Share Article

Write a comment