When Rami Malek found out he’d been chosen to play the villain in the newest James Bond film, he had one condition before accepting the role.
Malek knew he had to be very careful before saying yes, because, as the son of Egyptian immigrant parents, he didn’t want to be part of a movie that involved playing either a religious fundamentalist or an Arabic-speaking terrorist.
In an interview with the Mirror, the 38-year-old actor said he made things very clear when he met with director Cary Joji Fukunaga.
“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’.”
Thankfully, Malek had nothing to worry about, he added, “But that was clearly not his vision. So he’s a very different kind of terrorist.”
Malek added that he felt a lot of responsibility taking on the villain role, “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 told the publication how proud he is of his Egyptian roots, “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.”
Earlier on in his career, Malek told Fox News he “played a pharaoh in Night at the Museum and I think a few terrorist roles.”
“At some point [I] put my foot down and said that’s going to be it for that,” he added.
“That was a great decision because I would get offers of that nature and you constantly desire to work as an actor, but there are things you realise, well, that’s not worth it. I’m not representing myself or the community well.”
After the success of Mr Robot, Malek was seen by producers who cast him as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, for which he won the Oscar for best actor.
At this point, very little is known about Bond 25, even the title is a mystery. One thing we know for sure is that the movie will be released in April 2020.