Rami Malek is having a hell of an awards season, with best actor nominations to date from the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards and SAG, and almost certainly an Oscar nomination to come January 22. All this is for his uncanny portrayal of Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, the 20th Century Fox movie that has turned into the most successful rock biopic ever — and still going.  Already an Emmy winner for the wildly different Mr. Robot, Malek transformed himself into playing Mercury, a music icon who lived big and died young.

Bohemian Rhapsody
20th Century Fox

Malek visited our Deadline studios for the latest edition of my video series The Actor’s Side, and the interview turned out so good we just had to present it in all its glory in two parts. In Part I (watch the video above), he talks about the importance of authenticity in his approach to playing Mercury, as well as the fact he wasn’t exactly obvious casting (particularly from his own POV, not to mention anyone else’s). He talks about how he overcame that fear, and goes into detail about the filming of the big Live Aid concert scene that ends the movie but actually came the first week of filming. Watch for his humorous story about getting stuck in an elevator at the venue and thinking they were all going to die after having the biggest success of their career.

In Part II, Malek hilariously describes his early days of trying to get into the industry from his home base of Sherman Oaks, CA, his adventures with agents and casting directors, his odd jobs where he would hand out headshots to anyone who even looked like they could be a producer,  his first job which was a three-line part at Warner Bros, and an early encounter with none other than Steven Spielberg. Great stuff.

Watch Part I above, and Part II below:

For past episodes of The Actor’s Side, click here.