Rami is an American actor who has been in a number of TV shows and movies such as playing Pharoah Ahkmenrah in “Night at the Museum” but “broke through” in the role of Elliot Alderson in the TV series, “Mr. Robot.” When searching for an actor to portray Freddie Mercury in the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody,” it was Rami’s work in “Mr. Robot” that caught their attention. Rami really looks nothing like Freddie Mercury except having a slight overbite but with makeup and teeth prosthetics, he came very close. More than appearance was the way Rami was able to capture Freddie’s unique movements, especially in the iconic Live Aid performance. I have watched several side-by-side comparisons of the concert next to the recreation and it is truly uncanny. Freddie never used choreographed moves; he just did whatever came to mind when on stage. Among his interests while in high school and as a young man were boxing, long distance running and golf, both of which show up often in Freddie’s movements – his penchant for doing long side leg movements, holding the half mic stand (his trademark) behind his shoulders, and using boxing moves, notably at the end of “Somebody to Love.”
I was too ill to go to “Bohemian Rhapsody” when it first came out which I regret as that is a movie where Dolby stereo would have been incredible. It is now playing at our “second run” movie theater in town. I almost did not go since scenes from the movie are now being released on YouTube and I figured I’d seen most of the movie in parts but did go and SO glad I did. For one, I hadn’t been to a movie since I saw “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” based on the book by C.S. Lewis and that has been at least 12 years ago if not longer. Also, although I rarely make popcorn at home, eating it in a movie theater is much more enjoyable and part of the ambiance for me.
It was fun to see the other people at the movie. I went on a weekday in the afternoon so I didn’t expect a young crowd due to that alone. I arrived early; only three women were in the theater at the time, all sitting near the back and all approximately my age. I said I would take a seat along with ladies of my generation. The two who were sitting together smiled and the one in front of where I sat turned around. We talked about the movie and Queen for a few minutes; one woman saying it was her second time seeing the movie (that is something I’ve noted in YouTube comments – people seeing the movie multiple times, to the point of leaving the theater and going right back in for the next show); the woman in front of me said she wasn’t a Queen fan back in the day but enjoys them now. I think that has happened to more than a few of us. Young people who never heard of Queen (except for the ones whose parents played their albums) are going crazy for them now. I see so many comments that bemoan not being born in an earlier time and wishing their generation/s had good music. As more people entered, the milieu was primarily those of my age+, several that were obviously a mother/daughter or mother/son duo, and one couple who looked to be in their 30’s or 40’s.
The number one reason I decided to go, however, was to watch Rami Malek. I am so impressed with this young man; he is intelligent, thoughtful, humble, and witty when I’ve seen him interviewed. Although I’d watched many of the movie scenes I discovered that the ones I’d seen in the various movie trailers were often not in the same sequence as in the movie. I was not disappointed. For a movie that ran close to two hours, it seemed to go by quickly as it was fast-moving.
Pulling together the themes of several of my recent posts – mental illness, Queen, and YouTube along with some humor – I offer the changing face of Rami Malek.
I’d never heard of “Mr. Robot” but, since I no longer receive cable TV, I haven’t heard of a lot of TV series which is no great loss from what I can tell. The first three seasons of “Mr. Robot” are currently on Amazon Prime. The series primarily appeals to me from two perspectives: my interest in computers (formerly taught computer application software for a Jr. College in the 80’s) and mental health. The lead character, Elliot Alderson, is a computer tech by day and a hacker by night who has social anxiety, depression, anxiety, paranoia, and (as we discover near the end of Season one) psychotic breaks/multiple personality stemming from a childhood trauma. Rami does an excellent job of portraying madness as in this sneak preview from Season 1:
The series gets progressively darker and I definitely do not recommend it as viewing for children. The background music alone sometimes makes me anxious.
In contrast, I have to look very hard to “see” Rami in his portrayal of Freddie Mercury and it’s almost impossible to detect “Elliot Alderson” in some of my favorite scenes from “Bohemian Rhapsody:”
The movie derives its name from Queen’s iconic song of the same name. Freddie Mercury had a 4-octave singing range; even though his normal singing voice was bass, he was able to sing extremely high/falsetto notes. What many fans didn’t realize is that Queen’s drummer, Roger Taylor, also had a broad range. Many of the high notes on Queen songs were done by Roger as in this scene where Freddie Mercury, a perfectionist, wanted to get “Galileo” just right:
“Bohemian Rhapsody” took a bit of selling to their record producer; the scene also shows Freddie’s sometimes “unconventional” behavior:
Speaking of not recognizing actors, any idea who record producer/man behind the desk is?
Here’s a hint:
Movie – “Wayne’s World” adapted from Saturday Night Live skits. Actor sitting in the front passenger side – Mike Myers. Movie producer in the scene above – Mike Myers. Mike Myers said he put the “Bohemian Rhapsody” bit in “Wayne’s World” due to a record producer telling Queen no one would ever “head bang” to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Famous last words.
The side-by-side comparisons of “Live Aid” with Queen next to the performance in the movie are fascinating to watch Rami imitate even the slightest Freddie Mercury movement nuances. The “Live Aid” performance was 20 minutes; the movie cut the scene to about 12, left out a song, only used the first part of another, etc. plus cut aways to what was going on behind the scenes so some of it doesn’t align at the same moments, but it’s there. This is one of my favorites of the comparisons:
Thus far, Rami has won best actor award in Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild (which really stunned some people – one of the actors nominated for the category in the SAG couldn’t hide his amazement) and many hope he takes away the Oscar. The movie won best award at the Golden Globes, again, really surprising people. I think we’re going to see a lot more of this young man, Rami Malek.