Hollywood star Rami Malek has emerged as one of the most assured performers but the “Bohemian Rhapsody” star, who is generating Oscar buzz with his portrayal of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, says he believes in constantly pushing the envelope rather than feeling satisfied.
It is often said that Malek is rarely satisfied with his takes on the sets something that the actor admits doing.
“If I am satisfied, it gets boring. I allow myself to appreciate something but I never want to feel satisfied. What keeps the fire alive in myself, I don’t want to extinguish that by telling myself that I have done a good job,” Malek told PTI in an exclusive interview from Sydney, Australia over phone.
The actor, who burst onto international scene with TV show “Mr Robot”, about a hacker with mental health issues, is looking forward to the film’s release in India on Friday as Mercury spent his formative years in the country.
Malek approached Mercury role with utmost reverence because he wanted to honour the legacy of the great musician and familiarise him to the new generation.
“Bohemian Rhapsody”, being released in India by Fox Star Studios, is a biopic on the flamboyant singer behind all-time hits such as “Somebody to Love”, “We are the Champions”, “We will Rock You” and “Killer Queen”.
“I did not want to imitate or impersonate him. That looked cheap to me so one aspect of doing it was the physical process. I don’t look like Freddie Mercury, I am never going to look life him. But a great make-up artiste, costume designer and choreographer can make the process passable.
“I have never worked this hard as on this to honour a human being. I probably asked for too many takes because I did not want to lie awake at night thinking ‘I did not do everything that I could while I was on the set’. I pushed myself to the absolute limit,” he says.
Still it was a challenge that Malek would not wish upon anyone else as he believes Mercury was “almost supernatural”.
“He was constantly trying to figure out his identity and who he was, an immigrant living in a foreign land, trying to come to terms with his sexuality. That was something I could see myself relating to. I noticed he was not as exuberant and outgoing as he was on stage.
“If you look at Mercury, it is like looking at ten people. I would always find aspects of his life when he was both extroverted and introverted. Even during his performances, you find moments when he is lonely and shy. Like in the ballad ‘You take my breath away’, you see his heart breaking in a way. That’s what is fascinating… even in ‘Somebody to love’, you can see that he is longing for someone. But at the same time, he was the most charismatic human being that you could come across.”
The film faced may hurdles in the beginning with changes in the star cast, director troubles as Bryan Singer was fired, close the film’s completion due to series of absences. The film was later completed by Dexter Fletcher though Singer retains the directorial credit.
When asked about the roadblocks, Malek says he never bothered about them as he was too invested in living Mercury.
“When I accepted this job, I did not have the time to think about other aspects. The only thing was to think about was Freddie Mercury.”
Malek’s transformation as Mercury has received unequivocal praise everywhere but not all reviews have been kind to the film.
The actor said he avoids reading reviews of his performances because they mess with the experience he had while playing a character.
“I try not to read any reviews because I don’t want them to alter my appreciation or the experience of the filmmaking process. I am honoured to be the person to contribute to Freddie’s story and be a tiny part of Queen’s legacy.”
The film also stars Ben Hardy, Mike Myers, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Joseph Mazzello, “Game of Thrones” star Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander and Allen Leech in supporting roles.