LOS ANGELES — This story was supposed to begin differently, but Rami Malek stole my line.
After spending more than an hour chatting with him on the Fox Studios lot here, I had to ask why he had been so jumpy at the interview’s outset. He had twitched, hugged himself, crossed and uncrossed his legs, scratched his arms and jiggled at a terrific frequency that suggested advanced jitters or vast amounts of caffeine. What had all that been about?
Mr. Malek replied that his nervous energy was par for the course, that it once caused someone to ask, “Is Rami O.K.?” “I have my flourishes,” he continued, then threw me a sly grin. “Rami Malek couldn’t sit still,” he said, in an exaggeratedly stentorian voice. The line wouldn’t have been the greatest way in to this tale, but it would have done, especially since he proved extremely reluctant to dish about himself during the course of our talk.
Attempts were definitely made. Was Mr. Malek, who was raised Coptic and went to Catholic school, still religious? “That’s such a personal issue,” he deflected. How does he decompress during production of “Mr. Robot,” in which he plays the paranoid protagonist Elliot Alderson? “It’s so personal!” Mr. Malek, who is 37, exclaimed, revealing only that he unwound in his “own private way.”
Finally, he offered a scintilla of self-disclosure. Mr. Malek’s pre-existing predilection toward privacy had been strongly reinforced, he said, by his performance as Freddie Mercury, the bombastic and brazenly carnal frontman of the rock group Queen, who died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1991, and whom Mr. Malek plays in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which is to be released Nov. 2. “It’s nice to be able to own privacy, some bit of anonymity,” Mr. Malek said. “That’s a Freddie thing.” [More at Source]