IANS

I can understand what it feels like to be different: Actor Rami Malek

By Sugandha Rawal
New Delhi, Dec 4 (IANS) Actor Rami Malek is respectful of the whole ongoing diversity movement in Hollywood, and says he can understand the struggle to seek an identity in a world he “didn’t necessarily fit in”.

“I’m a first-generation American. I can understand what it feels like to be different… feel like a fish out of water and struggle to identify who I am in a place where I feel like I didn’t necessarily fit in,” Malek told IANS in an email interview.

And that is the reason he was attracted towards “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which was released in India by Fox Star Studios. “Bohemian Rhapsody”, a biopic on late singer Freddie Mercury and the band Queen, explores the rise of the band with a focus on Mercury’s personal life, his sexuality and the way he dealt with his fame. It released in India last month.

“I don’t want to do those type of movies all the time, but when it 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,” he said while explaining his decision to play the role of Mercury in the biopic.

Talking about the film, he said: “You get an opportunity to do this job, as an actor, and you never know if it’s going to work or not, so sometimes it’s worth taking the biggest risks and just embracing it. That’s the only way to do it.

“Obviously, it could be an immense burden for anyone to try to take on a figure who is so iconic and revolutionary, and that was not lost on me, even through the process of filming.”

Malek, who started his journey with a small role in “Gilmore Girls”, says showbiz is a difficult business to break into.

Asked about his journey in the industry and how the ups and downs shaped him as an artiste, the actor said: “I was conscious of when I had to move on from that. It felt a marker for some sort of achievement, I guess. But you’ve got to remember, I was born in Los Angeles. I come from a mindset of, ‘I know what that billboard was two weeks ago. And I know what it’s going to be two weeks from now’. This business is a revolving door.”

Before Malek took on the task of tracing the life of Mercury on the silver screen, the actor garnered acclaim for his role in thriller “Mr. Robot”. His film credits include Michael Noer’s “Papillon”, Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master”, Tom Hanks’ “Larry Crowne”, “Need for Speed” and “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb”.

With Egyptian-American roots, Malek, in 2016, went on to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor — the first non-white winner of the category in almost 20 years.

The actor appreciates the diversity dialogue in Hollywood, but feels there is still a long way to go.

“The diversity movement in Hollywood has been something that I’m very respectful of. I think we’ve come a long way, but there’s still so much further to go. The #MeToo movement has been one of the most unique and special times that the industry has seen. And not just the industry — the world.

“We have to continue in this direction on all those levels because there are doors that are still not open for people,” he said while signing off.

(Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at sugandha.r@ians.in)

–IANS
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