Rami Malek Talks Middle Eastern Typecasting & His Role as Freddie Mercury

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Rami Malek attends the premiere of "Bohemian Rhapsody" at The Paris Theatre on Oct. 30, 2018 in New York.

Rami Malek appeared on a recent episode of Hollywood Foreign Press Association's podcast, “The HFPA in Conversation," where he talked about being typecast in “quintessential terrorist roles” and his upcoming gig as Freddie Mercury in the film, Bohemian Rhapsody.

“I did watch actors that I knew go into auditions with one name and a year later I'd see them at auditions – Middle Eastern actors, we'd be auditioning for that quintessential terrorist role – and I'd see them sign in with different names and kept my mouth shut," he recalled. "I understood it, but it never spoke to me as something I needed to do. I was always on the cusp of, ‘well, he's not…I guess Middle Eastern enough,’ or ‘he’s not Caucasian enough.’ So it was always a difficult thing for me to try to navigate.”     

On the topic of Queen, he said "Somebody to Love" is his favorite song, and that he and Mercury have some things in common: “He never goes half measures on anything. So I just tried to emulate that aspect of him as much as possible to the point where his sister was on set with us one day and I think she saw me probably going too far asking for maybe one or two extra takes that I probably didn't need,and she wrote me an email. She said, ‘Freddie was a perfectionist too, but he always knew how to have a good time.’”

Listen to the full episode below.


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