To many fans, it almost seems like actor Rami Malek came out of nowhere. He was getting small roles in Hollywood for quite a few years before bursting into superstardom.
But the actor began getting more and more recognition thanks to his role in the critically acclaimed television show Mr. Robot. Now that's he's portrayed Queen's legendary lead singer Freddie Mercury on screen in Bohemian Rhapsody, he's reached a whole new level of fame.
Given that he's managed to stay working in Hollywood for quite a few years now, it's surprising that people don't know more about him. However, though most recognize him on the red carpet, they'd be hard pressed to know anything about him on a personal level.
Luckily, now that Malek is absolutely everywhere with the spotlight on him thanks to the movie, more and more about the young actor is surfacing. From his family life to his path to stardom, we've got every little-known detail fans might want to know about Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek.
We're also so curious to see what kind of roles he takes on next—it can't be easy to follow up playing someone as legendary as Freddie Mercury! However, his confidence as an actor probably skyrocketed.
20 Arabic Is His First Language
Because of his exotic looks, Rami Malek has played characters who come from all different corners of the world. Though he was born in Los Angeles, California, his first language actually wasn't English—it was Arabic!
Thanks to his parents, who came from Egypt in search of a better life for their family, Malek spoke Arabic at home until he was about four years old. At that point, when he began attending school, he learned English. However, he still speaks pretty decent Arabic today, which could easily come in handy for certain types of roles. Having the option to play a character in another language is always a plus!
19 He Went To High School With Other Celebrities Including Kirsten Dunst And Rachel Bilson
Given that Rami Malek grew up in Los Angeles, it might not come as a surprise that he attended high school with some classmates who ended up famous. After all, there are plenty of individuals in that area who have dreams of pursuing professions in the entertainment industry.
Malek went to high school at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks and actually attended school with two future celebs. He was in the same grade as Rachel Bilson, who went on to star in shows like The O.C. and Hart of Dixie, and actress Kirsten Dunst was in the grade below him.
18 He Has An Identical Twin Brother, Sami
There are plenty of celebrities who come from big families, but not all that many who have actual twins as siblings. However, Rami Malek is one of the lucky few who grew up with a sibling that was closer to him than most: his twin brother Sami.
The two don't look all that identical now, but when they were younger, they could apparently pull the old twin switch with no problems. Sami didn't end up pursuing jobs in the entertainment industry, though. While Rami has likely taken his brother to a few Hollywood events over the years, for the most part, Sami just spends his time working as a teacher.
17 He Got A BFA From The University Of Evansville
Many celebrities simply pack up their car the moment they graduate from high school and head off to Hollywood with a dream. They don't worry about much—they just know that California is where they need to be to get their big break. Rami Malek had a bit of a different experience.
Rather than starting to pursue acting the moment he graduated high school, even though he was already in Los Angeles, Malek ended up going to the University of Evansville in Indiana. He spent a few years there studying and honing his craft, getting a BFA before actually seriously pursuing acting. He wanted to make sure he had the skills in place!
16 He Won A Golden Globe For His Portrayal Of Freddie Mercury
We can only imagine how intimidating it must have been to take on playing someone as iconic as Freddie Mercury on screen. Sure, Malek has played a lot of complicated characters over the years, but there's just something different about playing someone who was actually a real person. Especially when there are other people who remember what that individual was like!
Rami Malek made sure to put in the time studying the character to ensure he truly embodied Freddie Mercury, and his effort was rewarded—he ended up getting the Golden Globe Award in 2019 for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama. That's no small feat!
15 His First Acting Role Was A Guest Starring Gig On Gilmore Girls
Most actors don't get their big break role immediately—they have to take on a few smaller roles before that. While it seems like Rami Malek just appeared from out of nowhere and got the lead in Mr. Robot, he actually put in a few years of work beforehand, including on the show Gilmore Girls.
Even super fans might not remember his character, because he only appeared in one episode—however, if you watch the episode, you can definitely tell it's him because of his distinctive features. He got the role on the show before he even had an agent and managed to do a great job playing the wholesome student at Lane's college.
14 His Parents Are Originally From Egypt
While Rami Malek grew up in Los Angeles, he is very outspoken about his connection to his roots. Though his parents came to the United States from Egypt and raised their children there, the culture was still a huge part of the entire family's lives.
Malek distinctly remembers listening to plenty of Egyptian music and connecting with family members who were still back in Cairo and basically just including tons of that influence in his life. We love that his parents insisted on passing their culture and heritage down to their children. Malek obviously considers it a very important part of who he is.
13 He Worked With A Movement Coach To Learn How To Portray Freddie Mercury
When you're bringing a real-life person to life on screen, there's so much that goes into the performance. Yes, you have to learn your lines like you would with any other role. And yes, you may need to physically transform your body in certain ways. However, there's a lot of a person that can't be communicated quite so easily, like the way they move.
In order to really master Freddie Mercury's character on screen, Malek actually ended up working with a movement coach so that he could successfully portray him on screen during the lively performance scenes. He wanted to make sure that he was able to convey those facets of Mercury's personality.
12 He Delivered Pizza And Made Falafel In Hollywood To Make Ends Meet
Rami Malek has worked very hard to get to where he is today in Hollywood, and that included plenty of time in service industry jobs. Many celebrities make ends meet for years on end by working as a waitress or barista. Malek was even further behind the scenes, working at restaurants making shawarma and falafel and even delivering pizzas.
He did whatever he needed to in order to make his dream come true. We love that he was so determined to make it in the industry that he kept going no matter what. Obviously, all his hard work ended up paying off in the end!
11 As A Struggling Actor, He Lived In A One Bedroom NYC Apartment With Several Other People
Rami Malek had a bit of an interesting path to Hollywood. After growing up in Los Angeles and moving to Indiana for college, he didn't move straight back to California once he had his BFA. Instead, he headed out to New York.
We're not sure if he wanted to pursue theatre for a while or if he simply wanted a change of scenery from the place where he grew up, but that's where he decided to start his journey. Obviously, rent in New York City is incredibly expensive, and he ended up living in a one-bedroom apartment with quite a few other people who had similar dreams.
10 He Had His Buck Teeth Prop From Bohemian Rhapsody Cast In Gold
One of the most noticeable physical characteristics Freddie Mercury had was his front teeth. So, when it came time to undertake the physical transformation for the role, Malek ended up getting some fake teeth that looked more similar to Mercury's than his own teeth.
Though he admits it was tough getting used to the faux teeth, by the end of the movie he was so accustomed to them and the way that they transformed his look that he didn't quite feel ready to let them go. So, in order to honour the individual he was playing on the screen, he decided to get a set of the teeth cast in gold.
9 He's Taken His Mom On A Promo Tour — And His Cousin To The Emmy Awards
Rami Malek is the kind of guy who is still very close to his family. Though he has a packed schedule and is likely frequently traveling for work, he makes time for them whenever he can. Sometimes, it involves taking his mother on promo tours, which he did for Bohemian Rhapsody.
Sometimes, it involves taking family members to red carpet events—for example, he took one of his cousins to the Emmy Awards a few years ago. We love that he's not letting his fame and fortune go to his head—instead, he's making the important people in his life just as much a priority as when nobody knew his name.
8 He's Super Intense On Set And Likes Getting Into Character
When it comes to acting, every celebrity has a different process. Some are able to switch between their real self and their character at a moment's notice and can be joking around moments before a very serious scene on set. Other actors need to truly steep themselves in their character, and they go into full-on method acting.
Rami Malek is somewhere in between. He may not go full method with the characters he plays, but he's known to be quite intense on set and really likes diving deep into certain characters in order to really bring them to life on screen. Obviously, whatever he's doing is working!
7 He Talked To Several Musical Legends To Get Their Take On Freddie Mercury, Including Boy George And Sting
When you're playing a real-life person who has long ago passed, you can't talk to anyone who actually knew them. Sure, you can read books and perhaps historical documents that shed some light on their personality, but you can't actually consult someone who interacted with them.
Rami Malek had a different experience when it came to playing Freddie Mercury. There were plenty of musicians alive who remembered what he was like, so Malek got their perspectives on who Freddie Mercury was. He asked countless musical legends, including Boy George, Sting, and Bono to get their thoughts on the legendary frontman.
6 His Older Sister Is An Emergency Room Doctor
Rami Malek's parents must be incredibly proud of all their children. They've all gone to attain success in their chosen fields, though they all went into radically different professions. While Rami Malek is spending his time in the glamorous world of Hollywood, his older sister is in a much more high stakes world—the emergency room.
She apparently works in the emergency room as a doctor, dealing with all the incoming patients. We wonder if any of the other doctors or nurses she works with ever ask about her famous brother, especially now that he's winning so many awards for his role in Bohemian Rhapsody. He's kind of a big deal!
5 He Found Cultural Differences Difficult Growing Up
Rami Malek has been honest about the fact that it wasn't always easy growing up in Los Angeles with such a strong heritage. Since his life at home was a lot different than his classmates' lives, and since he had a somewhat unique name, Malek didn't always have the easiest time fitting in at school.
He also admits that it took quite a while for him to become confident in who he was and to be able to not worry about what others at school thought of him. As a result, he spent many years trying to figure out exactly who he was, which can't have been an easy process!
4 He Got A Young Alumnus Award From His Alma Mater In 2017
There are countless institutions where aspiring actors can study their craft. And obviously, not everyone who studies acting can end up becoming a successful actor—it requires a lot of hard work and a bit of a spark in order to get your big break. However, now the University of Evansville can claim at least one famous alumni—Rami Malek himself.
Malek graduated from the school back in 2003 with his BFA and actually ended up being brought back to get a Young Alumnus Award in 2017. He's gotten plenty of other awards, but we bet that one was especially meaningful to him.
3 He's Known For His Super Expressive Eyes
When you look at Rami Malek, there's one thing you see before anything else—his eyes. The actor has incredibly expressive eyes that play a huge role in whichever character he's portraying on screen. It's just one of the traits that set him apart from countless other actors—and they definitely come in handy for intense scenes.
While every actor should be able to communicate a multitude through their expressions, there's just something about Malek's eyes that just draws you in. They're definitely one of our favourite things about him! It just goes to show that you never know what trait will give you the extra edge over the competition.
2 He Had A Small Role In Twilight As An Egyptian Vampire
When you think of the cast of Twilight, chances are you think of the actors playing the main characters, like Kristen Stewart or Robert Pattinson. However, there are a few notable talents who played smaller roles in the hugely popular franchise—including Rami Malek!
You may have missed it entirely, but it turns out he plays a small role as a vampire from Egypt in the movie. We love that he was able to be a part of a huge franchise while also paying tribute to his heritage a little bit. Plus, it must have been a blast to get to play a vampire just for a few days.
1 He's Not Really On Social Media Platforms — And Doesn't Want To Be
It seems like celebrities are constantly on social media promoting their latest projects. And while there's no denying that it can be effective, it adds a whole new dimension of work to all the work they're already doing on set. Rami Malek, however, refuses to engage with social media.
While many people on his team, including his publicist, have urged him to become more active on the various social platforms, he's flat out refused. And, we have to admit, we kind of love that about him. While we'd all enjoy getting an inside peek at his daily life, we love that he's so devoted to his craft that he doesn't want to waste time taking selfies.
Sources: IMDB, Rolling Stone, GQ