Rami Malek has revealed that he insisted upon just one thing prior to accepting his role as the villain in Bond 25: that his character wouldn’t be an Arabic-speaking terrorist, or a villain who uses religion as justification for his crimes.
“It’s a great character and I’m very excited,” Malek told The Mirror. “But that was one thing that I discussed with [director] Cary Fukunaga. 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’. But that was clearly not his vision. So he’s a very different kind of terrorist.”
The Bohemian Rhapsody Oscar winner said that his own ethnic background, and his awareness of the importance of positive representation, drove him to the decision.
Speaking of his Egyptian heritage as “the fabric of who I am”, Malek added: “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.”
As for Bond 25, Malek teased that it is “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.”