Rami Malek – MovieActors.com

Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody (2018).

Rami Malek: Best Actor, 2018: MovieActors.com

Bohemian_Rhapsody_movie_poster Bohemian Rhapsody (Biography, Drama, Music – PG-13)

Rami Malek won the Best Actor Academy Award for his performance in the 2018 film Bohemian Rhapsody, as Freddie Mercury — the legendary and flamboyant frontman of the rock group Queen.

About Rami Malek (1981 – ____)

Rami Said Malek was born and raised in Los Angeles to Egyptian immigrant parents, Malek studied theater at the University of Evansville in Indiana. He began his acting career with supporting roles in film and television, including the Fox sitcom The War at Home (2005–2007), the HBO miniseries The Pacific (2010), and the Night at the Museum film trilogy (2006–2014). He's done voice work for television and video games, as well as motion capture.

Malek was born in Los Angeles, on May 12, 1981, to Egyptian immigrant parents Said Malek and Nelly Abdel-Malek. His parents left Cairo in 1978 after his father, a tour guide, became intrigued with Western visitors. They settled in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, mostly staying in the San Fernando Valley and rarely venturing into Hollywood. His father sold insurance; his mother is an accountant. Malek was raised in his family's Coptic Orthodox Christian faith, and grew up speaking colloquial Egyptian Arabic at home until the age of four. Malek has an identical twin brother named Sami who is younger by four minutes; he is an ESL and English teacher. Malek's older sister, Yasmine, is an ER doctor. His parents emphasized to their children the importance of preserving their Egyptian roots, and his father would wake his son in the middle of the night to talk to his Arabic-speaking extended family in their hometown of Samalut, Egypt.

As a first-generation American, Malek found it difficult to assimilate as a child because of cultural differences, even spending most of his childhood having his name mispronounced: "It only took me till high school where I found the confidence to tell everybody, no, my name is Rami. It's a very upsetting thing to think about, that I didn't have the confidence to correct anyone at that point". As a result, he said it was difficult to form a self-identity as a child and gravitated towards "creating characters and doing voices" as he searched for an outlet for that energy. He attended Notre Dame High School, and was in the same class as actress Rachel Bilson. Kirsten Dunst, who is a year younger, also attended the school, and the two shared a musical theater class. His parents harbored dreams of his becoming a lawyer, so he joined the debate team. Though he struggled to form arguments, his debate teacher noted his talent in dramatic interpretation and encouraged him instead to perform the one-man play Zooman and The Sign at a competition. Reflecting on the moment, he said, "On stage I'm having this moment with my dad with a bunch of other people , but then I thought, wow, something really special is happening here". It was the first time he saw his father become emotional, and his parents' positive reaction to his performance left him feeling free to pursue an acting career.

After graduating in 1999, he went on to study theater at the University of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana, where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2003. The college later honored Malek with a 2017 Young Alumnus Award, "given to those who have achieved personal success and contribute services to their community and to UE."

After his college graduation, Malek wanted to attend grad school for theater; however, with college debt growing, he moved to New York instead where he shared a one-bedroom apartment with friends who were also in the theater business. His network of friends included writers and directors. Together they performed their own plays around the city. While visiting his family in Los Angeles, he met casting director Mali Finn who convinced him to stay and look for work in Hollywood. After moving in with his parents, Malek worked delivering pizza and making falafel and shawarma sandwiches at a restaurant in Hollywood to make ends meet. Despite sending his resume to production houses, he found it difficult to get work as an actor, which led to bouts of depression and a loss of confidence. He considered getting a real estate license instead of pursuing an acting career.

After a year and a half, he finally received a call from casting director Mara Casey. She asked to speak to his agent. When he confessed he did not have one, she told him to get one first. After having a pleasant conversation, however, Malek suggested they meet anyway. She agreed, and the meeting led to him getting his first role in the TV sitcom Gilmore Girls in 2004. That same year he voiced "additional characters" for the video game Halo 2, for which he was uncredited. In 2005, he received his Screen Actors Guild card for his work in two episodes of the Steven Bochco war drama Over There. Later that year, he appeared in an episode of Medium and was cast in the prominent recurring role of Kenny, on the Fox comedy series The War at Home. Kenny's "coming out" story earned accolades from GLAAD. In 2006, Malek made his feature film debut as Pharaoh Ahkmenrah in the comedy Night at the Museum. He reprised this role in the sequels Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009) and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014). In the spring of 2007, he appeared on-stage as Jamie in the Vitality Productions theatrical presentation of Keith Bunin's The Credeaux Canvas at the Elephant Theatre in Los Angeles.

Malek returned to television in 2010 in a recurring role as the suicide bomber Marcos Al-Zacar on the eighth season of the Fox series 24. Growing weary of playing characters he called "acceptable terrorists", he instructed his agent to reject any role that painted Arabs or Middle Easterners in a "bad light". Later that year, he received critical acclaim for his portrayal of Corporal Merriell "Snafu" Shelton in the Emmy Award-winning HBO World War II mini-series The Pacific. After the intensity of filming The Pacific, he chose to leave Hollywood and lived briefly in Argentina, though he says it was unsuccessful and he has "since found better ways of coping". During the filming of The Pacific, Malek received a letter from executive producer Tom Hanks praising Malek's performance. Hanks would then cast him as college student Steve Dibiasi in the feature film Larry Crowne, released in July 2011.

Those opportunities led to Malek securing supporting roles in a series of major films. In August 2010, he was cast as the Egyptian coven vampire, Benjamin, in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2. In 2013 he played Nate, a new employee at a group home for youths, in the indie film Short Term 12, opposite Brie Larson. He appeared in two Spike Lee films during this period, the 2012 remake of the South Korean film Oldboy, in a part that was trimmed significantly, and later in the crowdfunded picture Da Sweet Blood of Jesus. The two men have remained friends. He also had minor roles in Battleship, the Oscar-nominated The Master, and Ain't Them Bodies Saints.

Screenwriter Sam Esmail had auditioned over 100 actors to play the lead character of Elliot Alderson (a mentally unstable computer-hacker) for a show he was developing. Having failed to cast the part, he considered re-writing the character completely. After seeing Malek's audition, however, Esmail said, "It opened my eyes to who Elliot really was." The subsequent psychological drama, Mr. Robot, premiered on June 24, 2015, on the USA Network, with Malek in the lead role. To accurately portray the character, who suffers from mental and social disorders, he met with a psychiatrist. The role drew immediate praise from critics, with USA Today calling it his "breakout performance". His performance earned him nominations for the Dorian Award, Satellite Award, Golden Globe Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award. He won the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. The show will conclude with its fourth season in 2019.

Buster's Mal Heart, the first movie in which Malek played a starring role, premiered in September 2016 at the Toronto International Film Festival to positive reviews. In it, Malek plays a man who leads two lives, one as Jonah and another as Buster. Casting him in the role before his success on Mr. Robot, the director, Sarah Adina Smith, said, "I had no idea how huge and adored he would become". Reviewing the actor's performance, John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "Fans of Mr. Robot won't be disappointed in the least by this vehicle for Emmy-winning series star Rami Malek, which both fits in with Mr. Robot's delusion-prone paranoia and lets the charismatic actor stretch out in his first feature lead." Malek next starred as Louis Dega in Papillon, a remake of the 1973 film, co-starring Charlie Hunnam. In 2017, Malek joined the cast of Bojack Horseman (season 4), voicing the character Flip McVicker, a writer who doesn't trust email.

In 2018, Malek portrayed Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. The film premiered in London on October 23, 2018, and became a major box office success, grossing over $844 million worldwide on a production budget of about $50 million. It became the sixth highest-grossing film of 2018 worldwide, and the highest-grossing musical biographical film of all-time. Malek's performance won critical acclaim. He won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in the film. To prepare for the role as Mercury, Malek moved to London where he employed a dialect coach and movement coach, and took piano and singing lessons. For four hours each day, he studied videos of Mercury with his movement coach, Polly Bennett. This included watching the 1985 Live Aid concert video on YouTube at least 1,500 times to perfect his performance for the movie. He also had to get used to singing and speaking with a set of false teeth that mimicked the singer's overbite. Brian May, Queen's guitarist who often attended filming, is quoted as saying that Malek's performance was so accurate that "we sometimes forgot he was Rami". Malek considers his performance as Mercury the most important in his career, saying:

This is a role I don’t think can be outdone. I think we’re always searching for that next great role, and I guess I’m fortunate that I’ve already been met with it. I’d like to think that there is more out there for me to do, and there is, but I do doubt that there is anything that lives up to how precious this role and this human being have been in my life.

On February 24, 2019, Malek won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance as Freddie Mercury.

Malek's early roles established him as a character actor. He has remarked that he enjoys the auditioning process, sees it as a "proving ground to test things out," and has created so many diverse characters for auditions that he wishes he could collect them as a package to show to others. However, after his success with Mr. Robot, he began to be regarded as a leading man, though an unconventional one. He is portrayed by comedian Pete Davidson in Saturday Night Live sketches parodying the character.

To prepare for a role, he describes an initial stage of panic, followed by research into the character to create a world for that person. This includes finding music he thinks the character would listen to, as well as creating and imagining past memories for that person to the point he has to perform as them. His most creative times are mornings and evenings. Malek likes to do experimental takes until he finds one that works. Director Sam Esmail noted that Malek is often dissatisfied with his work even when the director thinks he's completed a perfect take. Because of their mutual insistence on getting a scene the best it can be, Esmail considers Malek a "co-creator". The actor has also been noted for his physical transformations to play his characters. He lost significant weight to play Elliot Alderson, Freddie Mercury, and Snafu Shelton, where Tom Hanks required that he maintain between six and eight-percent body fat. During the filming of The Pacific, Malek found it hard to separate himself from his character, which led to "some pretty intense mental anguish during and after filming". He said the most valuable lesson from that experience was learning to distance himself from his characters.

Malek tends to be reserved in interviews, mentioning in one his desire to stay "anonymous" abroad. He eschews social media. The New York Times called him "extremely reluctant to dish about himself". But he says he's the opposite of the introverted Elliot that he plays in Mr. Robot: "I'm an exuberant person. I thrive on affection. I like chitchat... One of the great things about living in New York is that you meet so many strangers — and I love encounters with strangers... I love meeting people and hearing their stories".

During his acceptance speech for Breakthrough Performance of the Year at the 30th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, Malek confirmed his relationship with his Bohemian Rhapsody co-star Lucy Boynton. In an interview during the 2019 BAFTA Awards, he said he's searching for a home in London after "falling in love" with the city while filming Bohemian Rhapsody.

He has lent his support to charities, such as the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation and the ACLU. In September 2018, Malek started working with the (RED) organization after being inspired by his Freddie Mercury role. As an ambassador to raise awareness and funds to help eliminate HIV/AIDS, Malek traveled to Eswatini to "learn more about the state of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa". During his visit, Malek said, "To collectively come together and tackle one of the arguably largest and most horrific diseases anyone has ever known... That can happen right now, I can't think of anything I would rather be a part of, more than fulfilling any personal dream or aspiration".

Rami Malek's movie credits include...

Year Movie Role
2006 Night at the Museum Pharaoh Ahkmenrah
2009 Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Pharaoh Ahkmenrah
2011 Larry Crowne Steve Dibiasi
2012 Battleship Lt. Hill
2012 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 Benjamin
2012 The Master Clark
2013 Ain't Them Bodies Saints Will
2013 Short Term 12 Nate
2013 Oldboy Browning
2014 Need for Speed Finn
2014 Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Pharaoh Ahkmenrah
2014 Da Sweet Blood of Jesus Seneschal Higginbottom
2016 Project X Co-Narrator
2016 Buster's Mal Heart Jonah / Buster
2017 Papillon Louis Dega
2018 Bohemian Rhapsody Freddie Mercury
2020 The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle Chee-Chee

Rami Malek's television credits include...

Year Show/Series Role
2004 Gilmore Girls Andy
2005 Over There Hassan
2005 Medium Timothy Kercher
2005–2007 The War at Home Kenny Al-Bahir
2010 24 Marcos Al-Zacar
2010 The Pacific Merriell "Snafu" Shelton
2012 Alcatraz Webb Porter
2012 The Legend of Korra Tahno
2014 Believe Dr. Adam Terry
2015–present Mr. Robot Elliot Alderson
2017–2018 BoJack Horseman Flip McVicker

Academy Nominations/Awards won by Rami Malek include...

Year Movie Award
2018 Bohemian Rhapsody Best Actor (Winner)

Memorable Quotes by Rami Malek

“ I'm very fortunate to have the privilege of working with directors like Bill Condon and Paul Thomas Anderson, who I think is one of the greatest filmmakers of our time. ”

“ There's fears in everyone's job. Ours are in the limelight, and people think we're incredibly privileged or nuts to do what we do for a living. ”

“ I used to spend a lot of time alone as a kid, creating characters and doing voices in my room, and I thought to myself, I'm either going to go absolutely nuts, or I'm going to find something to put that energy into. ”

“ Of course I would never compare myself to someone who actually went through a war, but I definitely matured shooting The Pacific (2010). I'm more calm and I have more patience. ”

“ It's funny to think that when you get done with an acting job, you're considered unemployed. There are definitely times when those checks don't last forever. I went to college at a private school, and I racked up quite a bit of debt. I was very slow to pay them back. ”

“ When I'm onscreen or acting, I swear, I can listen like nobody's business. I listen so well. Every word. Every action. Every physicality. I have a hard time doing that in real life. ”

Things You May Not Know About Rami Malek

He has an identical twin brother named Sami.

Went to high school with and once dated his Mr. Robot (2015) co-star Christian Slater's stepsister Emily.

Raised in the Coptic Orthodox faith.

Has also an older sister, who is a medical doctor.

He had the Freddie Mercury teeth he wore while filming Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) cast in gold.

He is, thus far, one of two males born after 1979 to have won an acting Oscar. Eddie Redmayne, who won Best Actor for The Theory of Everything (2014), is the first.

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Rami Malek in his Oscar-winning performance as rock star Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)... second picture with Gwilym Lee... fourth picture with Joseph Mazzello and Gwilym Lee... pictures six and eight with Lee, Mazzello, and Ben Hardy... tenth picture with Gwilym Lee.
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Rami Malek in Alcatraz (2012).
Busters_Mal_Heart_pic1_2016 Busters_Mal_Heart_pic2 Busters_Mal_Heart_pic3 Busters_Mal_Heart_pic4_Kate_Lyn_Sheil
Malek in Busters Mal Heart (2016)... bottom picture with Kate Lyn Sheil.
Mr_Robot_pic1_2015 Mr_Robot_pic2 Mr_Robot_pic3 Mr_Robot_pic4_Carly_Chaikin Mr_Robot_pic5_Carly_Chaikin Mr_Robot_pic6 Mr_Robot_pic7 Mr_Robot_pic8_Christian_Slater
Malek in Mr. Robot (2015)... pictures four and five with Carly Chaikin...
bottom picture with Christian Slater.
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In Need for Speed (2014)... top picture with Ramon Rodriguez...
middle picture with Jill Jane Clements.
With Mizuo Peck, Robin Williams, Ben Stiller, and Patrick Gallagher,
in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014).
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Rami Malek in The Pacific (2010)... top picture with Joseph Mazzello.