Rami Malek: ‘Being offered the part of Freddie Mercury was a gun-to-the-head moment’

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The controversial new Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody is dividing opinion. But critics are united in the performance of Rami Malek as the charismatic frontman. Here he tells Tom Lamont why he risked all for the part of Freddie Mercury

Rami Malek, the Californian actor, says: “I don’t know man. I guess I’m an unusual human being.” It’s an afternoon in Hyde Park and we’ve been talking about the 37-year-old’s extremely odd walk, a seesawing, twitchy-limbed zigzag – just all over the place – that has been making ours less a stroll around the London park than a careen. Malek, not yet so well known in this country, but with a sizeable profile back home thanks to his lead role in the US TV drama Mr Robot, is two days removed from wrapping the biggest job of his life so far – as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, an upcoming band biopic about Queen.

At first I assume this is the reason for the wild walk. Maybe he hasn’t yet shaken off his intensive physical coaching for that film? But no, the actor says, this jaggedy lope is all him. “It’s quite staccato, isn’t it? There’s a little swing in my step… Of course, Freddie had a very particular gait himself.”

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