James Bond cast: How Freddie Mercury inspired Rami Malek's No Time to Die villain

3 min


James Bond cast: How Freddie Mercury inspired Rami Malek's No Time to Die villain 1

Rami Malek is the Oscar-winning actor who will be the next Bond villain in the 25th movie, No Time to Die. Starring opposite Daniel Craig as James Bond, Malek will play Safin, a mysterious villain who has sparked wild theories from fans over his identity. But it turns out Malek was inspired by his previous big role – that of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.

Before being revealed as the man in the role of No Time to Die’s Safin, Malek had bagged the Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA for Best Actor for his role as Freddie Mercury.

Malek made headlines for his fantastic portrayal of the Queen frontman, with the movie Bohemian Rhapsody chronicling the beginnings of the band and following their success.

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The film ended at their iconic Live Aid performance, though the chronology was moved around in such a way to show Mercury revealing his AIDS diagnosis to the band just before the concert.

While this is not accurate, as Mercury’s diagnosis did not come for a few years after the performance, the drama and weight of the performance was felt strongly in the audience.

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And this clearly affected the big awards judges as well, as Malek earned critical acclaim for his work in the film, as well as high praise from critics all over the world.

Despite his wearing of false teeth, which must have meant his accent work and other aspects of his performance would have been made more difficult, he was still able to channel so much of what made Freddie Mercury the iconic man he was.

Of course, Malek’s vocals would not rival Freddie’s, and so the original vocals of Mercury’s were used in the film to givens that extra touch of nostalgia.

He was then revealed to be the new Bond villain, which left many 007 fans with goosebumps at the thought of who he could be.

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While many, on seeing the first trailer of the film, have suggested he may be channelling a bit of Dr No in his performance, Malek has made it clear that, while his character may include some elements of villains from previous movies, Safin is something totally different.

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Speaking to Empire magazine, Malek said of his inspiration for Safin: “If I went in there and tried to make a carbon copy of someone, what joy or fun would that be for anybody?

“I guess that may be a lesson I learned from Mr Mercury. If it’s not original, then why bother?

“I’ve pocketed some things from some of my favourites.

“But I tried to every day imbue this character with something I thought made sense for the character, but might also at the same time be shocking and unnerving.”

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He also revealed the accent he chose for Safin was from no “particular part of the world.” which he hopes will add to his mystery.

Safin certainly has been mysterious, as the trailer has shown him wearing masks, with a disfigurement on his face and a clear connection to Madeleine Swann (played by Lea Seydoux.)

The villain also clearly has an obsession over staying alive and immortality, as is clear by the monologue he speaks to Bond in his icy, frightening lair.

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While this discussion of immortality may make fans convinced he is linked to Dr No, Malek assures us fans can be excited for something completely fresh and new to come in No Time to Die.

 

What is No Time to Die about?

At present, little is known about the plot.

Al that has been revealed is that 007, now retired, is dragged back to London by his former colleague, Felix, at the news of a new villain who could not be defeated by anyone but James Bond.

However, while Bond is dealing with potential betrayal and heartbreaks of his own, he must also come to terms with a new agent on the block (Lashana Lynch) who looks set to make his return more eventful than expected.

No Time to Die is in cinemas on April 2

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