Rami Malek rejects terrorist tropes for 007 villain role
Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek has revealed he refused to play an Arab terrorist in the next "James Bond" film, ruling out being cast as a religious fundamentalist or ideologically-driven villain.
When the Oscar-winning actor was approached to play the villain in the latest 007 film, he only had one demand - that he absolutely would not play an Arabic-speaking or religiously motivated terrorist.
"It's a great character and I'm very excited," Malek told The Mirror. "But that was one thing that I discussed with [director] Cary Fukunaga.
"I said, 'We cannot identify him with any act of terrorism reflecting an ideology or a religion. That's not something I would entertain, so if that is why I am your choice then you can count me out'."
Malek had previously vowed never to play a terrorist again after playing one in a minor role for the long-running series 24.
Fukunaga was happy to oblige.
"That was clearly not his vision," Malek explained. "So he's a very different kind of terrorist. It's another extremely clever script from the people who have figured out exactly what people want in those movies.
"But I feel a substantial weight on my shoulders. I mean, Bond is something that we all grow up with."
The actor, who rose to fame with his leading role in the TV series "Mr Robot" and won an Oscar this year for his performance as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, added that his pride in his Egyptian heritage was "the fabric of who I am".
Both of Malek's parents are Egyptian Coptic Christians who immigrated to the United States.
"There's no first-generation, or second-generation removed. I am Egyptian," he said. "These are my people. I feel so gorgeously tied to the culture and the human beings that exist there."