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Rami Malek’s first post-Oscars role is a masterstroke of perfect casting

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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The Academy Award-winner is about to be everywhere.

It’s the question that most often plagues an Oscar winner: what should I do next?

How do you follow up an Academy Award-winning performance, usually for a gruelling and transformative dramatic role? 

For many, the temptation to go in the complete opposite direction is strong. Halle Berry moved from Monster’s Ball to Catwoman. Natalie Portman swapped Black Swan for No Strings Attached and Thor. Sometimes, a winner’s post-Oscars choice is masterful, like Brie Larson going from Room to Captain Marvel. Sometimes it falls flat, as it did for Sandra Bullock when she went from The Blind Side to All About Steve

So, what is Rami Malek going to do next after winning an Oscar for Bohemian Rhapsody? Play a James Bond villain.

Rami Malek is going straight from the Oscars to a Bond movie

It’s a masterstroke of casting so perfect it has us wondering why Malek has never played a Bond villain before. Anyone who has seen his award-winning performance in Mr Robot knows that Malek has the inscrutable face and the ability to skew duplicitous that is required of a 007 baddie.

The James Bond franchise loves to dip into the well of Oscar-winners when searching for villains. Bond’s two most recent nemeses – Javier Bardem and Christoph Waltz – were plucked directly from the Academy Award winners podium and ushered straight onto a Bond film set. They barely had the chance to place their Oscar on a shelf before they had to go into treacherous scoundrel mode. 

The same will be true for Malek, who on 25 April was confirmed to join the cast of the as-yet-untitled 25th Bond film (widely referred to as Bond 25). Daniel Craig is back for the last time as everyone’s favourite amoral assassin alongside Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw as Q and Léa Seydoux as Bond girl Madeleine Swann. Captain Marvel’s Lashana Lynch and Blade Runner 2049’s Ana de Armas are taking on two major female roles, and the movie will film in London, Italy, Norway and Jamaica. 

Also joining the film is Billy Magnussen, the hyper-charming American actor best known for his role in Game Night and, more recently, Velvet Buzzsaw. He’s going to play a CIA agent, which essentially means he’ll be sent in to float James Bond when he inevitably runs out of money and pick up the pieces after he runs amok in a glamorous foreign location. 

Billy Magnussen is joining the Bond movies

Permission to toot my own horn for a second? I’m going to assume it’s been granted. A few weeks ago Jessica Chastain put out a call on social media asking for fans to suggest ‘Bond Boys’ who might be the perfect “eye candy” addition to her forthcoming female-led spy movie 355

The movie, which stars Chastain alongside Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Lupita Nyong’o and Fan Bingbing, aims to flip the script on the thriller genre, giving the weapons and the fight sequences to the women and turning the men into hapless supporting players.

On this very website I suggested that Chastain hire Magnussen and that this subject was not one that was currently up for debate. Magnussen, so winningly naive in almost every single role he plays, is the Platonic ideal of a Bond Boy: someone with plenty of bumbling charm who knows the importance of supporting his female co-stars onscreen. 

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That Magnussen has been cast in an actual Bond movie and not Chastain’s all-female retelling of one is a little disappointing, but knowing that he will be playing the role that I have always maintained he was born to play – wide-eyed comedic support – is immensely satisfying.

Now, who can I speak to about ensuring that at some point in Bond 25, Magnussen and Craig recreate the notorious swimsuit scene from Casino Royale

Images: Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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