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In Bohemian Rhapsody, the 2018 hit film about one of the most influential rock ‘n roll bands of all time, Rami Malek plays Queen’s legendary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Critics may have given mixed reviews of the film itself, but the praise for Malek was pretty much unanimous.
“Rami Malek offers an intensely thoughtful, insight-rich performance as Freddie Mercury, channelling the Queen front man’s hurt, alienation, and isolation, even at the height of his fame,” writes Richard Brody for the New Yorker.
Of course, the critical praise went hand in hand with some hefty silverware. So far, he’s taken the Golden Globe for Best Actor, the Satellite Award for the same, and he’s been nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BAFTA and a Critics’ Choice Award. And it comes to no surprise to anybody at all that his role earned him a nod for the Oscars as well.
But let’s talk about Malek’s other critically acclaimed role – as Elliot Alderson in Mr Robot.
The cyber-thriller written by Sam Esmail is about an IT genius with mental health issues who is recruited by the mysterious Mr Robot (Christian Slater) and his shadowy gang of anarchist hackers known as fsociety.
Esmail reportedly auditioned over 100 actors for the role and was about to rewrite the character before seeing Malek’s audition. His performance drew instant acclaim, with Salon writing “Elliot’s day job is security, but his real occupation is brilliantly and systematically invading privacy—and then deciding what to do with all the information he has. It’s a testament to Malek’s skill that a man with such a vast reach comes across as so sensitive, brokenhearted, and damaged.”
For his role as Elliot, Malek won the 2016 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (making him the first non-white person to win the award in almost 20 years) plus the Critics’ Choice Award Television Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series. He was nominated for scores more awards for the role in the same year.
If you fell in love with Malek as Mercury, you owe it to yourself to see him in Mr Robot. The characters may be vastly different, but the sensitivity and skill Malek brings to his portrayal of Elliot will have you instantly hooked. All three seasons of Mr Robot are available only on Showmax – start binge-watching now.
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