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The Righteous Rami Malek


English Matters - epaper ⋅ Ausgabe 6/2019 vom 27.09.2019

Actor Rami Malek rocketed to fame with his turn as Freddie Mercury in last year’sBohemian Rhapsody .English Matters goes backstage to take a deeper look at the man who portrayed the Queen frontman.


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Bildquelle: English Matters, Ausgabe 6/2019

At the start of 2018, Rami Malek wasn’t exactly a household name. Fast-forward to a year later, and the actor is an Oscar winner who starred in the highestgrossing musical biopic of all time. His face is now iconic, but his past remains shrouded in mystery for most.

Rami’s Roots

Rami was born in Los Angeles on 12 May, 1981. His parents were Egyptian immigrants who settled in California in 1978. His father ...

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... was an insurance salesman, and his mother was an accountant. He has an older sister, Yasmine, who is an ER doctor, as well as an identical twin brother, Sami.

Growing up, Rami’s Egyptian background had a major impact on his life. He was raised as a Coptic Orthodox Christian. The primary language that he spoke at home until the age of four was Egyptian Arabic. Rami’s parents routinely woke him up in the middle of the night so he could speak with his family back in Egypt over the telephone. In addition, the actor was enamoured with Egyptian culture. He looked up to Egyptian entertainers like Umm Kulthum and Omar Sharif.

Rami attended high school at Los Angeles’ Notre Dame High School. Notre Dame is notable of having several alumni who’ve gone on to achieve fame, such as actress Kirsten Dunst. Originally, his parents dreamt of their son becoming a lawyer, but teachers quickly saw he had a flair for the dramatic. On a whim, Rami signed up for an acting competition. Once his parents saw what he was able to do, they gave him their blessing for him to pursue a career in acting. He went on to study at the University of Evansville in Illinois, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2003.

righteous ˈraɪtʃəs| gerecht, redlich, rechtschaffen
to rocket to fame | schnell zu Ruhm gelangen
frontman | Leadsänger, Frontmann
household name | vertrauter Name, ein Begriff sein
highest-grossing | kommerziell erfolgreichster
biopic | Filmbiografie
shrouded | verschleiert, umwoben
to settle | sich niederlassen, siedeln
insurance salesman | Versicherungskaufmann
accountant | Buchhalter(in)
impact on sth | Einfluss/Auswirkung auf etw.
in the middle of sth | mitten in/von etw.
enamoured with sth | verliebt in etw., fasziniert von etw.
to look up to sb | zu jdm. aufblicken/ aufsehen
entertainer | Unterhaltungskünstler, Entertainer
alumnus | Absolvent
originally | ursprünglich
lawyer | Rechtsanwalt
flair for sth | Talent/Begabung für etw.
on a whim | nur aus Spaß
to pursue sth tə pəˈsjuː / pərˈsuː ˈsʌmθɪŋ| etw. verfolgen/nachgehen

Ascending Hollywood’s Hierarchy

This LA native’s climb to the top was slow but steady. After a brief stint in New York, Rami moved back to Los Angeles to seriously start looking for acting gigs. At first, opportunities were few and far between. After going years without receiving any offers, he finally landed a handful of bit parts in TV series likeGilmore Girls andMedium . A recurring role in the sitcomThe War at Home caught the attention of many viewers, too. In 2010, Rami played a Middle Eastern suicide bomber on the TV show24 . Afterwards, he professed he would reject any roles that depicted Arabs in a bad light.

These various supporting parts in television eventually morphed into supporting parts in films. Rami’s feature film debut came in 2006 in the filmNight at the Museum . Along with the film’s two sequels, he had minor roles in major pictures likeLarry Crowne ,The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 ,Oldboy ,Battleship , andThe Master . Moreover, Rami dabbled in voice acting, in video games likeHalo 2 andUntil Dawn . Despite this steady stream of work, it took over a decade for the aspiring thespian to nab his breakout role.

For his big break, Rami had to go back to television. In 2015,Mr. Robot premiered with him in the lead role. In the psychological thriller, he plays a computer hacker who is plagued by numerous social anxieties and mental disorders. From the onset, the show has been showered with rave reviews. Much of the praise has been directed squarely towards the lead actor’s performance. In 2016, Rami took home the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor for his work onMr. Robot .

Nevertheless, the performer turned more heads and raised more eyebrows with 2018’sBohemian Rhapsody . The film didn’t receive the kindest reviews, but Rami’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury won universal acclaim. Not only was his acting top-notch, but his vocals matched those of Freddie to a tee. He physically embodied Freddie as well. Rami donned prosthetic teeth while filming to ensure he nailed the rocker’s appearance. Audiences took note of this stellar performance. He took home a Golden Globe, Screen Actor’s Guild Award, BAFTA Award, and Academy Award for his performance.

to graduate | graduieren, einen
Abschluss machen
Bachelor ˈbætʃələ(r)| Bachelor
to ascend tu əˈsend| aufsteigen, erklettern
climb klaɪm| Aufstieg
stint | Job, Arbeit
recurring | wiederkehrend
suicide ˈsuːɪsaɪd / ˈsjuːɪsaɪd| Selbstmord
to reject sth | etw. ablehnen, zurückweisen
to depict sb/sth | jdn./etw. darstellen
eventually | schließlich, letztendlich, irgendwann
dawn dɔːn| Morgendämmerung
to dabble in sth | sich in/an etw. versuchen
despite sth | trotz etw.
thespian | Mime, Schauspieler
to nab sth | sich etw. krallen/ holen
anxiety | Angst, Unruhe
mental disorder | Geistesstörung
rave | überschwänglich, glänzend

The Mysterious Mr Malek

Rami has built a reputation for having a reserved character. He tends to shy away from the public eye and rarely opens up during interviews.The New York Times has stated Rami is “reluctant to dish about himself,” but the 38-year-old disagrees with this assertion. He sees himself as an exuberant person who relishes in socialising with others, especially strangers.

Rami is currently in a relationship withBohemian Rhapsody co-star Lucy Boynton. He stated that he fell in love with the city of London while filming the picture, so he intends to buy a house there in the coming months. Furthermore, his performance as Freddie Mercury inspired him to advocate for charitable causes that were near and dear to the singer’s heart. He cooperates with Product Red to combat HIV/AIDS throughout Africa. He acts as an ambassador to raise funds and awareness in hopes of eliminating the HIV virus. Apart from this, Rami is also passionate about charities like the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation and the ACLU.

Those who have met Rami have called him “haunting.” He’s “vampiric” in the sense that he simultaneously looks young but mature. Most observers find his eyes to be his most striking feature. Another feature that has won over hordes of fans is his keen fashion sense. He’s made several best-dressed lists in recent years, and multiple fashionistas have remarked on the individuality that the actor exudes. In particular, his use of vivid colours and more than a few “quirky touches” have caught the public’s eye.GQ Middle East launched last year with Rami blazoned on the very first cover. The magazine summed up his style as “neat, elegant and perfectly put together.”

January 06, 2019: Jim Beach, Roger Taylor and Brian May of Queen, Rami Malek, Graham King & Mike Myers at the 2019 Golden Globe Awards.


acclaim | Anerkennung
top-notch | erstklassig, Spitzento
a tee | haargenau
to nail sth | etw. perfekt schaffen
to shy away from sth | vor etw. zurückschrecken
reluctant | widerwillig, widerstrebend
to dish about oneself | offen über sich selbst sprechen, sich öffnen
exuberant ɪɡˈzjuːbərənt / ɪɡˈzuːbərənt| ausgelassen
to relish in sth | etw. genießen, auskosten
to advocate for sth | sich für etw. einsetzen
near and dear | lieb und teuer
awareness | Bewusstsein
apart from sth | abgesehen von etw.
simultaneously ˌsɪmlˈteɪniəsli]/ ˌsaɪmlˈteɪniəsli| gleichzeitig
mature | erwachsen, reif
keen | kühn, fein, klasse
to exude | ausstrahlen, verströmen

Rami Revving Up

While 2018 was a heck of a year for Rami Malek, it looks like he’s far from finished. The fourth and final season ofMr. Robot airs in 2019. Rami will also depict the primary villain in the next James Bond film, due in cinemas in 2020. His acting acumen is unquestioned, so it looks like we’ve got a bona fide A-lister on our hands. With a multitude of awards already under his belt, one has to wonder where his career will take him next. How bright can his star shine? Keep your eyes peeled to see what treats he gives us next.

quirky | schrullig, eigenartig
to blazon | schmücken, präsentieren
to rev up | aufdrehen, Gas geben
acumen ˈækjəmən| Scharfsinn, Klugheit
bona fide | echt, authentisch
to have sth under. one’s
belt | etw. auf seinem Konto haben

Fact File

Rami Malek might not be the only famous Egyptian-American you know. Here are other celebs who also have an Egyptian background.
• Hoda Kotb: a television news anchor and presenter
• Raffi: a children’s music singer who also has Armenian roots
• Mohamed Al-Fayed: a billionaire businessman who owns Hôtel Ritz Paris.
• Dodi Al-Fayed: Princess Diana’s former partner and the son of Al-Fayed. He died in the same car crash that took Diana’s life.
• Mohamed Salah: A footballer who currently represents Liverpool in the English Premier League
anchor | Moderator