Hollywood movies have long perpetuated harmful stereotypes, whether it be the oversexualization of women or clichés of various racial groups - such as pitting Middle Eastern people as criminals and terrorists. So when Rami Malek, who portrayed Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, was approached to play the villain in Bond 25, at first, he had some concerns. In his words:
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.'
Rami Malek was born in Los Angeles and lived in America his whole life. His parents immigrated to the U.S. in the ‘70s from Cairo, Egypt when his tour guide father became intrigued by Western visitors. Malek is very proud of his heritage, describing it as “the fabric of who I am.”
Throughout his career, Rami Malek's been able to avoid playing the villainous (and offensive) Arabic-speaking caricature. Thankfully, that’s not the kind of character Bond 25 director Cary Joji Fukunaga was looking for in Malek. He continued with Mirror:
But that was clearly not his vision. So he’s a very different kind of terrorist. 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.
According to recent reports, Bond 25's story will involve genetic warfare, which Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge has come on to make sense of for audiences, along with infusing her humor to the script as well. Rami Malek has apparently met with genetic experts in preparation for the role as well.
Bond 25 has had a rocky production so far, as a round of five writers are now attached to the script and there have been many incidents on set. Daniel Craig suffered an ankle injury back in April while filming in Jamaica. After a minor surgery and a road to recovery, he recently stepped back on set for his fifth and final time as 007.
Rami Malek has previously admitted the shooting schedule has been taxing since he’s also shooting the final season to Mr. Robot at the same time, and all while the schedule has shifted amidst Craig’s injury. He’s assured fans that “they have it together” and is excitement to play his undisclosed character.
Bond 25 hits theaters on April 8, 2020.