For most Oscar-winning performers, picking up the Best Actor prize is a career highlight. It should be a cause for celebration, an acknowledgment that one has made a positive contribution to the world of cinema. Unfortunately for Rami Malek, though, his recognition for his turn as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody has garnered the wrong type of attention.
Of course, that was always going to be the case considering that he starred in a Bryan Singer movie. Singer, an alleged rapist, had a sordid history long before Bohemian Rhapsody was even an idea. However, when further sexual abuse allegations emerged back in January, Bohemian Rhapsody’s award campaign became further steeped in controversy. Despite all the positive takeaways from the 2019 ceremony, Bohemian Rhapsody’s inclusion will forever associate the event with Singer’s personal woes.
Malek hasn’t done himself any favors lately, either. When confronted with questions pertaining to the allegations against Singer –that have been public knowledge for years — the actor claimed that he “was not aware” of them prior to making the movie. Maybe Malek was telling the truth, but the fact he spent an awards campaign avoiding questions about the movie’s director wasn’t the best move on his part. Understandably, people have been mad at him.
That’s not the end of Malek’s recent bad press, either.
Last week, the actor sparked an internet backlash for calling Mercury “a gay man” in his Oscar acceptance speech. The real Queen frontman was bisexual, and despite Malek’s speech honoring the singer for being “unapologetically himself”, he did come across as uneducated about his subject. It was an unfortunate addition to the disastrous Bohemian Rhapsody press cycle, but I’m willing to give Malek the benefit of the doubt here. He made a silly oversight, but his speech was well-intentioned.
Since Malek is currently an acclaimed Oscar-winning actor and an internet bad guy, he’s the perfect choice to play a main villain in a hotly-anticipated blockbuster. Variety shared the news that he’s close to signing on 007’s adversary in Bond 25, a role that he previously had to turn down months ago due to his Mr. Robot commitments. Now that his schedule has freed up and his star power is at an all-time high, the timing couldn’t be better to be offered this awesome opportunity.
Variety also reports that three more major roles are set to be cast. These include two female leads, both of whom will be accomplices of Bond. The other part is for an CIA agent who will also be an ally of our favorite secret agent. It is rumored that Billy Magnussen is the top choice to play the latter, but whether or not he’s been officially offered the gig yet remains unclear. The film is expected to enter production this spring, with an April 8, 2020 release date planned at the time of writing.
As for Malek, he’ll be hoping that these developments and rumors divert attention away from recent events. This is a role that will keep him firmly in the public eye, but that’s due to the magnitude of Bond 25 as a movie that people are looking forward to seeing, as opposed to any notable scandals. May it stay that way. If Malek can avoid further negative press then he’s going to have an amazing career.
At the end of the day, Malek is a good actor and an exciting addition to any cast. With Bond 25 he’ll remind people of that. He didn’t handle the Bohemian Rhapsody campaign very well, but that shouldn’t define him as a performer or as a person. Hopefully, he’s learned some valuable lessons from that experience that will inspire him to work with better people going forward.
By all means, hold Malek accountable for recent mishaps, but the only person associated with Bohemian Rhapsody who deserves the long-term brunt of our criticism is Singer. I’m just looking forward to seeing the actor getting back to what he does best, and his inclusion in Bond’s upcoming milestone movie has made it even more must-see.