While Rami Malek made a splash playing Elliot Alderson on USA’s Mr. Robot, it was last year’s performance in Bohemian Rhapsody that had everybody talking. In the biopic of British rock legends Queen, Malek played the flamboyant Freddie Mercury in the Bryan Singer/Dexter Fletcher film that went on to gross $743 million worldwide.
Malek is nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama at tonight’s Golden Globes for his role as Mercury, nominated alongside other actors Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born), Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate), Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased), and John David Washington (BlackKklansman). It is Malek’s third nomination by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association; in 2016 and 2017, he was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama for Mr. Robot.
How Did Malek Prepare to Take On One of the Most Charismatic Rock Frontmen in Music History?
To step into Mercury’s shoes, Malek underwent a yearlong prep to be able to carry the singer’s colorful persona and on-stage confidence. With help from the film’s producers, Malek started singing and piano lessons almost immediately after landing the role. Malek told The Hollywood Reporter:
What I really knew I needed was to capture his spontaneity. The man’s not choreographed. Every time he steps out onto a stage, no one knows what he’s going to do, and that’s what I knew I needed to tether myself to. In order to do that, I realized, I can’t work with a choreographer, I need someone to help me with movement, someone to help me discover the impetus for why he does what he does. Why every flick of the wrist occurs with him in such an elegant, sometimes dainty and sometimes aggressive way, depending on his mood. I just had to find his humanity — what his conflicts were — and discover all the sides of him, because I knew there was more to Freddie Mercury than a man who holds an audience in the palm of his hand. But I had to get that down as well.
Malek Considers Himself a “Lifelong” Fan of Queen
Malek, a huge fan of the band, considers Mercury to be “a genius” and praises the band’s overall work. “They’re very catchy tunes, but the depth of them, you can read into for days,” he told USA Today.
Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor served as creative consultants and executive music producers on the film. Guitarist May, who was played by Gwilym Lee in the film, had this to say about Malek’s performance: “We kind of saw Freddie in him and we could sense Rami’s passion. The first time we saw him was actually in Roger’s flat. It must have been horrible for him, having us watching him for the first time. But we were really blown away by him and his ability to perform—he’s incredible.”
What Are the Band’s Plans for the Future?
The band, now officially titled “Queen + Adam Lambert,” has announced dates for a 2019 North American tour. Since meeting on the set of American Idol, Lambert has been performing and touring with guitarist May and drummer Roger Taylor. The summer tour plans to make stops in Los Angeles, Houston, Boston, Nashville, and more.
As for Malek, a fourth and final season of Mr. Robot is forthcoming, and the actor has provided voice work to 2020’s The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle in addition to the past couple seasons of Bojack Horseman.