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The late-night host began the conversation by mentioning Malek’s Oscar win for playing Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, which Malek called “one of the greatest challenges” of his life. He said that he still keeps in touch with Queen, and saw them recently at the Global Citizen festival.
And then the focus turned to Malek’s casting as the villain in the new James Bond movie opposite Daniel Craig. “Can you tell us anything?” Colbert asked. Malek declared Craig to be his favorite Bond, and recalled a moment he had with the actor while they were filming the movie. He said they were rehearsing a particularly complicated scene and bouncing ideas back and forth. After they had finally cracked it, Craig picked up Malek off the floor. He’s not sure exactly who initiated this moment, but “a kiss transpired between the two of us,” he said. He took a moment, and then said to Craig, “Does this make me a Bond girl?”
Moving onto the final season of Mr. Robot, which Malek has been a part of for five years, Colbert highlighted one of the show’s unique qualities. “You are in the mind of an introverted character, we — [the audience] are your confidant.” Malek said he loved the first season, but [this next one] “is equal to it or better. It’s a great way to end it. It’s bittersweet.”
Colbert said that the show feels real on a lot of levels, and asked Malek if he ever worries how true to life the characters or situations are. The actor said he used to go to Sam Esmail [show creator] and say things like, “this is a stretch,” referring to certain narrative arcs. But after the first couple of seasons, he encouraged the director to just “let it rip.”
Speaking of the impact that Mr. Robot has had on its audience, Malek said that during the Bohemian Rhapsody press tour he was often stopped by people who were as affected by Freddie Mercury as they were by [his Mr. Robot character] Elliot. The character seems to encourage people to speak out, he noted, adding how honored he is to be part of such a special project.
The season three finale saw Elliot preparing to undo the Five/Nine Hack, which Esmail teased will bring the show back to its original premise of Elliot wanting to take down the guys behind the scenes who are manipulating society.
“The journey between seasons one to three has been about discovering who the real culprits are,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in a recent interview. “The hack was merely a distraction that was co-opted by these people, and it’s finally been revealed and exposed to Elliot. In a weird way, the next season will return back to that initial premise of the show and have Elliot be motivated by that, with this new clarity.”
The final season of the USA Network computer hacker drama premieres Oct. 6.
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