Egyptian American, Rami Malek Reveals He Will Never Play The Role of an Arab Terrorist

The Mr Robot star, who received an Oscar earlier this year for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, admitted that he had to think twice before agreeing to take on his next role.

The actor, 38, who is of Egyptian ancestry, said that he needed a guarantee from the American film director Cary Fukunaga that his character would not be an Arabic-speaking terrorist. 

In an interview with The Mirror, the actor shared that as an American-Egyptian he did not wish to entertain the idea of his character being a religious fundamentalist.  

Speaking to the newspaper he said: ‘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.’

The latest Bond film sees 007 (Daniel Craig) living a tranquil life in Jamaica after leaving active service before Felix turns up asking for help in a mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist.

Rami is playing the primary villain in the story.

He promised he ‘won’t give Mr Bond an easy ride’ in the explosive next chapter of the franchise, when he appeared live via videolink during a cast Q&A at Goldeneye – Ian Fleming’s estate on Oracabessa Bay on the northern coastline of Jamaica. 

It has been well-chronicled about how production has hit a number of bumps in the road, due in part to Craig suffering an ankle injury during shooting and Malek’s other filming commitments.

The cast also includes Naomie Harris, Lea Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ana de Armas, , Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw.

Despite the shooting setbacks, Bond 25 is still slated to hit theaters in the US April 3, 2020 and April 8, 2020 in the UK.

The film will likely be Craig’s fifth and final time he plays the iconic role. 

Rami, who was born in Los Angeles in 1981 to parents Said and Nelly Abdel-Malek, has previously discussed how he was brought up speaking Arabic in the home.

His parents, who are Coptic Christians, immigrated from Cairo, Egypt, in 1978, to begin a new life in America.    

In an interview with GQ Magazineearlier this year Rami shared how his heritage was close to his heart and remained the very fabric of who he was.

He told the magazine: ‘There’s no first-generation, or second-generation removed. I am Egyptian. I grew up listening to Egyptian music. I loved Umm Kulthum. I loved Omar Sharif. These are my people. 

‘I feel so gorgeously tied to the culture and the human beings that exist there. I acknowledge that I have a different experience, but I am so enamoured and intertwined with Egyptian culture. It is the fabric of who I am.’ 

Rami also admitted that as an actor of Middle Eastern heritage, Hollywood was quick to typecast him into particular stereotypical roles.

However after playing the role of the suicide bomber Marcos Al-Zacar in the action drama 24, Rami decided that he needed to draw a line with his agents and refuse to play Arab or Middle Eastern characters in a negative light.

He added: ‘In the past it was like, ”Oh well, he’s an acceptable terrorist! He’s an accessible terrorist!” But after I did that I said to myself, ”You know what? Bullsh**. No more. This is not how I want it.”’ 

Rami, who gained critical acclaim as the socially awkward Elliot Alderson in the dystopian TV drama Mr Robot, has since gone on to take Hollywood by storm and recently took on the starring role of the Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.

His role earned him an Oscar for Best Actor at the 91st Oscars in 2019.

Upon receiving his Oscar Rami told the audience: ‘I think about what it would have been like to tell little baba Rami that one day this might happen to him and I think his curly haired little mind would be blown. 

‘That kid was struggling with his identity, he was trying to figure himself out and I think to anyone struggling with theirs and trying to discover their voice listen we made as film about a gay man, an immigrant who lived his life just apologetically himself and the fact that I am celebrating him and his story with you tonight is proof that we are longing for stories like this.

‘I am the son of immigrants from Egypt , I’m a first generation American and part of my story is being written right now and I could not be more grateful top each and every one of you who believed in me.’ 

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