'Bohemian Rhapsody' star Rami Malek reveals the ingenious way he got his Hollywood break
Millions of people move to Los Angeles to pursue their dream of becoming an actor. They move into a crappy apartment, take a low-paying but flexible job in the service industry, and audition for casting agencies. Once they land an agent, they fork over hundreds of dollars for headshots, and start the nerve-wracking grind of auditioning for commercials, TV shows and movies. Booking a major role can change your life overnight, and the competition is cutthroat.
Last year Rami Malek lit up the big screen playing Queen's Freddie Mercury in the blockbuster biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Audiences loved the film, and marveled at Malek's astonishingly precise performance as the late great singer. To prepare for the role, the 37-year-actor watched Queen's legendary 1975 Live Aid performance multiple times, and even got the seal of approval from Mercury's sister.
On Sunday Malek won the Screen Actor's Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture. During his acceptance speech, he referenced his old job in pizza delivery when he was a struggling actor. While speaking to reporters backstage, the Mr. Robot star revealed the ingenious way he got his big break in Hollywood: Slipping his photos and CV inside the pizza packages.
"One day, I get a call from the casting director of Gilmore Girls," said Malek. "She said, "Can I speak to Rami Malek's agent?" I said, "Speaking." She said, "Is this Rami Malek?" And I said, 'Yes, it is.' She said, 'Do you have an agent, honey?' I said, 'No, I don't. We'll work on it.' She was laughing throughout [the conversation].
"It was three lines and a co-starring part on Gilmore Girls," he continued. "I said, 'You're laughing right now. It will take me 10 minutes to get to Warner Bros." She said, 'All right, kid. Come on in.' So, after years of delivering pizzas and stuffing my headshot into pizza boxes and to-go orders, someone finally called with a part. I went to her office and I got the job later that night.'"
In 2004, Malek booked the role of Andy, a member of Lane Kim's Bible study group on Gilmore Girls. (If you want to watch it, it's season four, episode 11, titled The Clamor and The Clangor, currently streaming on Netflix.) After that, he landed the part of Ahkmenrah in the Ben Stiller comedy Night at the Museum, Kenny in the Michael Rapaport sitcom The War At Home, and Elliot Alderson in the acclaimed drama-thriller Mr. Robot.
Now, thanks to Bohemian Rhapsody, Malek is an Oscar-nominated actor, and his Hollywood dreams have come true. "I thank Queen and Freddie Mercury," he said in his SAG Award acceptance speech. "I get some power from him that is about stepping up and living your best life; being exactly who you want to be and accomplishing everything you so desire."