Rami Malek is getting a lot of recognition for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, which is nice considering the amount of work he put into it. Malek says he was working on perfecting his Mercury character for a year before the film was even officially happening. The actor says that he felt if he didn't do the work early, it wouldn't be done right, and then the movie would suffer. According to Malek...
I thought if this movie ever does get made and someone does give it a green light, there's no way I'm going to be ill-prepared. I thought the worst that happens is I learn how to inhabit Freddie Mercury and one day that could be something I share with my friends. If it did go forth and I was unprepared --- that would be the most tragic thing.
Bohemian Rhapsody had been a movie in development hell for years before Rami Malek signed on to be part of it. It appears that technically that's where the movie still was when the Mr. Robot actor joined the cast. Malek tells the New York Times that original director Bryan Singer hadn't joined the movie yet, and certainly nothing was moving forward without a director. Still, Malek started his work immediately in order to be sure he could properly bring Freddie Mercury to the screen.
Considering the amount of work that Rami Malek did, including a crazy exercise and diet program, it was probably a very good thing that he got started early. If he had waited for confirmation that the film was moving forward, he might not have had nearly as much time to get into shape.
On top of that, Malek spent a lot of time watching Freddie Mercury on tape and working with trainers in order to get his movements down so that he would be capable of performing as Freddie Mercury during Bohemian Rhapsody's many stage sequences. This also worked out very well, as he was apparently able to perform the film's entire Live Aid finale in a single take.
While Bohemian Rhapsody as a film got only a lukewarm response from critics, Malek's performance as Freddie Mercury was viewed by many as the highlight, and both the film and the movie have been doing well this awards season, most recently receiving five Oscar nominations including a Best Actor nod for Malek and a Best Picture nomination for the film.
It has to feel good to Rami Malek for all that hard work to have paid off in a big way. Bohemian Rhapsody is both a big box office success and an awards darling. While I'm sure it would have been fun to break into a spot-on Freddie Mercury impression in the middle of a cocktail party with friends, being able to share the performance with the world has worked out much better for everybody.