Rami Malek has spoken out about the conditions on which he accepted a villainous role in the next Bond movie.
Playing a Bond baddie would be coveted role for any Hollywood star. However, the 38-year-old Bohemian Rhapsody actor knew he had to be careful before saying yes.
As the son of Egyptian immigrant parents, Rami knew he didn’t want the part if it involved playing either a religious fundamentalist or an Arabic-speaking terrorist.
Being thoroughly aware of the importance of positive representation in movies, Malek told the Mirror:
It’s a great character and I’m very excited, But that was one thing that I discussed with Cary.
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.
Describing the weight of responsibility he felt when taking up the part, Rami said:
It’s 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. I mean, Bond is something that we all grow up with.
Malek has previously spoken about the pride he has for his Egyptian roots, telling the Mirror:
There’s no first-generation, or second- generation removed. I am Egyptian. I grew up listening to Egyptian music. I loved Omar Sharif.
These are my people. I feel so gorgeously tied to the culture and the human beings that exist there.
[…] I am very proud of where my family and I come from. It’s a unique vantage point – having parents who, at a massive risk, left their lives at home and came all the way to the foreign country so that their kids could have a life that perhaps gave them more opportunity.
I get to reap the benefits of the hardships of my parents and that gives me a strong appreciation for the life I lead today. Obviously I saw my family struggling, yes. There is a struggle that any immigrant family takes on. I hope in many cases it is worth taking.
Racial stereotyping of Arabic characters in movies is still a major issue, and it’s great that Rami Malek is choosing to use his sizeable platform to raise awareness about this.
Bond 25 will hit UK cinemas on April 3, 2020.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.