Rami Malek insisted that his Bond 25 villain not be a religious terrorist. The role of a James Bond villain carries a great deal of weight with it, and for many fans, the quality of a particular Bond film relates almost exclusively to the foe he’s set to take on.
Though we’re still without an exact title for the next film in the 007 saga, a villain has been in place since the end of 2018. That villain, as the world is now aware, is Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek. It’s a role that any actor would absolutely love to take on - joining a lengthy list of iconic villains in a franchise that continues to evolve and transform in response to the world we currently live in. While some past villains in the Bond franchise have left audiences less than thrilled, the truth of the matter is that there have been far more memorable villains out for global domination since the series first began, and being a part of that specific legacy has increasingly become a top priority for actors as the series grows.
With Malek however, the concept of being a Bond villain was more than just lending himself to a designated role. For the portrayal to actually work on a moral level, Malek was adamant that one issue not be ignored. According to The Daily Mirror, Malek’s biggest concern when meeting with Bond 25 director Cary Fukunaga was that he not be asked to play a religious fundamentalist or Arabic speaking terrorist. The 38-year-old’s fears were allayed, however, when Fukunaga assured him that he had no such plan in mind. Said Malek:
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’. 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.
Malek’s parents emigrated to the United States from Egypt, and the Bohemian Rhapsody star maintains a deep connection with his Egyptian roots, stating that they are “the fabric of who I am”. Last summer, Danny Boyle walked away from Bond 25 after his vision for the film’s villain was reportedly vetoed by Daniel Craig and the producers. Clearly, the concept of a Bond villain is a vital one to the film, and although past films in the franchise may have been content with some stereotypical representations of Bond’s nemeses, Malek can rest assured that this isn't the case with Bond 25.
It’s encouraging to see an actor like Malek stand his ground on this issue. Though there seemingly wasn't a risk of Malek having to portray an Arabic speaking terrorist, far too many films and television programs still use this insensitive portrayal. Thankfully, the recent increase in diversity in films has led to stereotypical representations of villains becoming less common than it was in say, the 1980s or 1990s, but the fact that a star as big as Malek still had to be concerned by this possibility in Bond 25 is a clear indication that Hollywood has work left to do.
Source: The Daily Mirror
- James Bond 25 (2020) release date: Apr 08, 2020