FROM EGYPT TO HOLLYWOOD
Born in Los Angeles exactly four minutes before his twin brother Sami, Rami Malek was brought up by an insurer father and an accountant mother, both Egyptian ex-patriots living in the US. His was an incredibly pious childhood devoted to the Coptic religion (a branch of the Egyptian Orthodox Church). He studied at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks alongside Rachel Bilson and even a certain Kirsten Dunst. One year older than him they attended the same acting and musical classes and Malek developed something of a crush on her when she played the heroine of Virgin Suicides. A student passionate about acting at university, he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts and started to garner small roles in experimental theatres and off-Broadway plays in New York. It was only in 2004 when he decided to head back west to tempt his chances in his home town that increasingly interesting roles began to come his way.
FROM WEIRD KID TO VIDEO GAME VOICE-OVER
Insecure about his typically oriental stature, the actor was convinced this detail would put the brakes on his career. "When I'd go to auditions, I'd say to myself I have no chance. They're going to choose someone with a more conventional physique, someone who society will accept more easily." It's hard to make yourself known in a Hollywood where you’re competing with aspiring Brad Pitt look-a-likes with dream pectorals. On television however the doors seemed slightly more open and he accepted the role as a weird kid in the incredibly popular series, Gilmore Girls – an episode that he admits he struggles with today particularly in terms of the hair. For the video game Halo 2 he lent his voice to one of the characters without even getting a mention in the closing credits. By dint of perseverance this series of odd jobs ultimately led him to the movie world where his atypical allure finally became an asset to his performances.
The trailer for “The Pacific” season 1
A REVELATION IN THE PACIFIC ON HBO
King Ahkmenrah in Night at the Museum, the Egyptian vampire Benjamin in the big budget series Twilight… Clichés characters for sure but ones that helped him get a solid footing on the Hollywood ladder. The revelation came with The Pacific, the HBO mini-series that would become one of the most expensive in history with an average budget of 20 million dollars per episode and in which he played "Snafu", a young soldier in the 1st Division of the Marines. It was the first time he could show the full range of his capacities as an actor, and he brought vital nuances to this role of a man destroyed by the battlefield who snaffles gold teeth from the Japanese enemies he kills. The program enjoyed a relatively low key success but gave our hero access to the major visibility he was missing and thrust his career towards new horizons.
The trailer for “Mr Robot” season 1
THE NEW FACE OF DIOR HOMME
From Peter Berg’s Battleship to a very bad remake of the movie Old Boy by Spike Lee, the roles started coming in but not always for particularly memorable features. One exception was The Master which in 2012 gave him screen time alongside Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, not long after There Will Be Blood. Two years later it was the character of Elliot Anderson, the lead role in the series Mr Robot that fell out of the sky. He plays a young computer technician living in New York, socially reclusive and prone to depression, who little by little becomes an obsessive hacker. Malek was seduced by the script as much as the creator of the series, Sam Esmail was seduced by the brooding intensity of the young actor and together they immediately embarked on the project. In spite of being miles from the traditional codes of American TV series, the show is diffused on USA Network and smashes all records: crowned at the Gold Globes, Critics’ Choice Telvision Awards, at the Emmys… And thus Malek became the new darling of Hollywood. Now hot property, he's starring in the most ambitious productions and in 2017 we'll be seeing him as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, and in a remake of Papillon alongside Charlie Hunnam. On top of that Dior Homme chose him to be the new face for its Summer 2017 campaign alongside Boy George and A$AP Rocky. A well-deserved acknowledgement with the promise of more greatness to come…