Before he was cast as Freddie Mercury in "Bohemian Rhapsody," Rami Malek made a splash in "Mr. Robot," winning an Emmy for his performance. Now he's in line for an Oscar nod.
What was he like back then? Here's our story with him from Aug. 23, 2015:
Rami Malek finds 'Mr. Robot' capable of transforming
LOS ANGELES | Actor Rami Malek says he wasn’t programmed for “Mr. Robot” to be a summer success, but he was hoping.
“When I saw what was written on the page, I realized we could achieve something that was unique. Did I think it was going to transformative? No, but I hoped that it would be,” he says.
Considered a breakout (in a season not known for them), “Mr. Robot” has already been renewed for another run and is headed toward a season finale Aug. 26 that may get viewers “to reflect, in some way, about my character’s future,” Malek says.
In the USA drama, he plays Elliot, a cyber-security engineer who hacks into computers at night. When the leader of an underground hacker group recruits him to destroy the firm he’s paid to protect, he’s forced to make big decisions fast. Christian Slater plays the mysterious dissident named Mr. Robot.
Already fans are speculating about its parallels in reality. The series openly calls out people and isn’t afraid to name names.
“TV is a special ground for what can be done these days,” Malek says. “Actors are gravitating toward that.”
Representatives at the Syfy channel (a fellow cable outlet owned by NBCUniversal) have told him they’re taking more risks with their show thanks to the strides made by “Mr. Robot.” “They’ve liked how we’ve pushed things to the edge,” Malek says. “I’m happy about that.”
He’s also thrilled with the nudge it has given his career. A star of such films as “Night at the Museum 3” and “The Master,” the 34-year-old is in talks for other projects (“ ‘Mr. Robot’ is opening a lot of doors for me”) that would push his recognition factor even more.
The drama, he says, is showing “the effect a TV show can have on society. It can be pleasurable learning and it can be engaging as entertainment.”
While insiders hint that next season will be even more action-packed, Malek isn’t speculating on what lies ahead. “I’m just trying to wrap my head around season one.”
On set, Malek, Slater and company try to find as much light as possible in a dark world.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Malek says. “There are some very dark places we all go to on the show and the only way to climb out of them is by finding some levity. In between takes, we’re trying to joke around, enjoy ourselves and play.”
“Mr. Robot,” however, “has the ability to transcend art in a way.”
A long run? “I’m just glad it’s being appreciated in the way that it has,” Malek says.