The winner of the Golden Globe for Bohemian Rhapsody, actor Rami Malek, injected a healthy dose of rock to get into the skin of the leader of the band Queen, Freddie Mercury.

Bohemian Rhapsody is the biopic of one of the greatest creative artist in the world. Aware of the challenge, and willing to face criticism, Malek confesses being a fan of the music of Queen, however, it also states that his version of Mercury is a personal vision of the character.

Rami studied from beginning to end to resemble the singer, studied every movement of the vocalist with absolute dedication. The actor worked with Jan Sewell, same makeup artist who has characterized Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawkins in the theory of the whole and the Danish girl, to get a perfect characterization. As if it were little, Brian May and John Deacon, Queen musicians and producers of the film, helped with original costumes for the film. On his way to the Oscar, we realize that Malek not only speak English and Arabic but also some Spanish. Is it not amazing? 

Q: Bohemian Rhapsody is one of the most anticipated films of the year, how was your first meeting with the members of the band Queen

A: I saw myself as a fan. It was not to know a Hollywood star that you admire, but something much more complicated to digest because they are Gods of the Rock. That does not happen every day but I tried to hide my nervousness. I've always been a fan of Queen 

Q: Is a real portrait of Mercury?

A: The film needed to approach it in a delicate manner. You can’t shy away from it. It was an important moment to have in the film, one that ultimately is very sad but also empowering in a way. It shows you just how resilient human beings can be and how much we rely on the strength of our friends and family to get us through tough times. This pandemic is still very much a horrific threat to so many people in the world. It exists as a reality for so many that I think it would be a shame not to address it. 

Q: You also have the movie Papillon based in a book

A: Yes, I really like it too. I hope that people write well about it. I think it’s a very special book, and when you get into the psychology of what is happening to these two men, and their evolution, as subtle as it is, I think it could be moving. A moving little love story disguised as an escape film.  

Q: It’s like a boys’ adventure kind of story, but at the same time so much more than that.

A: Exactly

Q: Have you read any Spanish author

A: Well yes. Spain has a very close relation with the Arab world and there are many influences. I will say the poetry of Lorca is my favorite 

Q: Are you a big fan on movies based in Literature

A: When the opportunity presents itself, it’s a nice challenge to test one’s self, like that, and tell that story. That story exists. I gravitate to history, and an opportunity like this is hard to pass up. And when you can re-tell something with an acute, sharp, realistic perspective, that’s when it’s useful to perhaps give something another shot. Of course, it was always in the back of my head. We took this on with a large amount of weight and reverence to the original.  

Q: What was the thing that first drew you to this project?

A: I was captivated by that book as a young man. And usually you leave nostalgia in its place for viewing purposes only.  

Q: Your next movie is Piano Man the life of Elton John

A: I learned to play piano while doing Bohemian Rhapsody. It's a nice way of escaping into another headspace. I won't be performing at parties though. People will say Play all of Queen's hits, and that's not in my repertoire! 

Q: It is true that you have a twin brother?

A: Yes.  My twin brother and I have the most incredible sister, Yasmine. She gets us through the good times and the bad times. She gives us really good advice. Let's just say that a lot of it has been about relationships!

 Q: Had you met your co-star Charlie Hunnam before you start Papillon?

A: No, we just had a phone conversation. I think I was shooting Mr. Robot when we no, where was I? I can’t remember, but we had a phone conversation, and we got to know each other over the course of an hour on the phone, and I just appreciated the level of dedication he already had in talking about the role, the work, the collaborative nature. I don’t know, there’s something where you obviously can’t predict chemistry, it’s one of the few things you might not even know exists until you watch the film. But there was something right from our jumping off point that I knew was going to create some type of chemical interaction that would produce hopefully something remotely interesting



Q: You said that this was a collaborative project. How did that work?

A: Yeah, we shot six-day weeks, and we had the privilege of shooting almost the entire film in sequence, which is rare. What that offers is going home every day and actually knowing what preceded the events to tomorrow’s work. And that causes individuals like us to sit with that and absorb it, talk about it, and bring it to the next day. There’s this sense of camaraderie, obviously, that that creates, and there’s also the ability to influence the film in a way that you don’t often get the chance to. Oftentimes, as an actor, you go back and say, “Oh, knowing how I played this scene later, I wish I could go back and do that.” And we were afforded the ability to not have that feeling that I am always quite disturbed by 

Q: What was it like to get into the headspace of this person who’s just looking towards life in prison?

A: I think this is where Michael and Charlie, the three of us, came to have more ideas about how to construct this man. Michael will talk philosophically about the construction of these guys. There’s a yin and yang to them. What I considered most was having a man who is a white-collar criminal, who looks at monetary things as the essentials of life and that’s how you get by, and there’s nothing that can get fixed without money. And then to have that person, by the end of the film, just realize that that’s an emptiness that he no longer has to subscribe himself to

 Q: Any hints about Season 4?

A: What could I tell you that would be interesting? He has given me hints, yes. How about that? I will just say that I am usually privy to finding things out before most actors do, so that’s something that I always keep in my back pocket. I have to be able to keep mum 

Q: Was it a challenging character to leave behind? Was he someone that you didn’t want to let go of?

A: Yeah, I didn’t want to let go. I liked him before, and I loved the music before, but the work that I got to do on the film has just given me this very unique perspective on the man who I’ve just established an immense admiration and respect for. Some characters, you’re happy to walk away from, and this one was not one of those. It’s something that I will treasure for the rest of my life, as an actor and as a human being. 

María Estévez

Correspondent writer


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