do not stop me now. If Rami Malek was a song, this would be this one. Because he made himself known by playing Freddie Mercury, the mythical fairground by Queen in the group’s biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. And because since this triumph in 2018 (a Golden Globe and an Oscar, in particular) which made him known to the world, the American actor is unstoppable. He will soon meet Denzel Washington and Jared Leto to star in the thriller Little things, scheduled for next January, and, above all, will give James Bond a hard time in To die can wait… That the world cannot wait any longer. A consecration for this son of Egyptian immigrants living in Los Angeles, who had to fight to get his first roles.
The (atypical) face of a modern and plural Hollywood, Rami Malek is also one of the new muses of Cartier, more particularly of the Pasha watch, a flagship model of the 1980s brought back to the tastes – refined and daring – of the day. Beside her, Maisie Williams (launched by the role of Arya in The iron Throne), Willow Smith (daughter of Will, who became a singer and actress) or Jackson Wang (member of Boys band South Korean GOT7). “A series of inspiring artists and entrepreneurs, all accomplished in their own way,” says Rami Malek. I am honored to be a part of it. ” Back on a meteoric rise, between live concerts and espionage.
How are you coping with the crisis we are going through?
It forces us to be creative in other ways, with means of expression we don’t usually turn to. At this level, it is an instructive period. I’m trying to use this time as best I can, just to digest the situation.
… With Queen’s hits in the background, or have you listened to them enough?
No, they will never tire of me! We are the champions, for example, brings us together and pushes us forward in times of adversity. It’s a special song. But they all are, because they represent a period of my life for which I am nostalgic and allow me to dive back into it easily.
Exactly, it has been two years since “Bohemian Rhapsody” was released. What do you keep from this adventure?
I’m still trying to realize what happened to me! It was an extraordinary experience, and the relationships I forged with the crew, the cast and Queen are all gifts that continue to live today: we are still a family, and I savor it every day.
A memory that you keep preciously?
There are so many… I could go back to each day of shooting and pick one. But I would say maybe our very last take, a live concert of the band. Being able to bow out on stage as a character, but also to personally turn this page of my life, was an unforgettable moment.
Was the pressure great to embody such a legendary figure as Freddie Mercury?
Of course! Not so much because Freddie is so well known, but because he’s idolized by so many people, including me. But I was happy to take on this responsibility, it was an honor, a driving force.
To slip into his skin, you called on language and movement coaches. A long preparation that you had also followed for your character of Elliot Alderson, tortured cyber engineer in “Mr. Robot”. Is this preparation essential?
Totally. I spend a considerable amount of time building my characters, because these “homework” then allow a certain freedom of interpretation in front of the camera. I love this creative process. Complex characters have always attracted me, because there is so much to dig; the possibilities as an actor are endless. For Bohemian Rhapsody, I didn’t notice it, but my relatives told me that over time they saw Freddie rub off on me.
You will be Safin, James Bond’s nemesis, in the upcoming “Die Can Wait”. Hard to be more iconic!
If I hadn’t just come out of the experience Bohemian Rhapsody, launching into a blockbuster of this magnitude would have been very intimidating. This role allowed me to benefit more from the James Bond adventure. I was crazy to arrive on the set!
Were you a James Bond fan?
I grew up with them. I watched them with my father, who did my film education. It went from Kubrick to James Bond. I’ve seen them all, from first to last! I still find it hard to believe I’m playing this iconic villain of the franchise.
How would you describe the experience of filming?
He is unlike any other. You arrive on the set in London and you see him, this legendary 007 agent in person. It’s surreal. Seeing Daniel (Craig, editor’s note) doing a phenomenal job, there’s that moment where you take a step back and say, “Oh, OK, I really have to play now!” It’s a bit like this feeling of going back to adolescence, of walking on plateaus where the streets bear names like Golden Eye… It’s powerful!
What to demystify your childhood dreams?
Oh, that happened a long time ago, when I started to understand how cinema works… (He’s laughing.)
Will Safin be a purely evil hero, whom we love to hate, or a tortured figure, like Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker?
This is exactly the question we asked ourselves with Cary Joji Fukunaga (the director, editor’s note) when we started to sketch the character. You will have to wait to see!
Actors often say that playing a villain is quite enjoyable.
(He thinks.) I don’t know if it’s still enjoyable, but in the context of James Bond, I totally agree. It is as if a connivance was created with the public. There is no such thing as James Bond!
In an interview about the series “Mr. Robot, ”you said,“ I never thought that a guy named Rami Malek, with a physique like mine, would land the lead role in a series. ” Were you worried that your origins would prevent you from getting certain roles?
Growing up, I don’t remember seeing many actors who looked like me. And I think that this lack of representations can shape the expectations that we have. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t going to work hard, or try to shake it up. And I still continue today. I never felt like I had to conform to traditional standards.