Rami Malek was filming in a prison in Montenegro when he got the call to play Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.
The actor was shooting Papillon with pal Charlie Hunnam when he learned he had been picked to replace Sacha Baron Cohen in the Queen biopic, and immediately turned to his friend to ask for his opinion.
Hunnam recalled the fateful day that marked the beginning of Rami’s journey to Oscar glory during an appearance on Live With Kelly & Ryan, revealing, “He came and he’d just had a phone call and he said, ‘Man, the craziest call… What do you think about the prospect of me playing Freddie Mercury? Is that crazy?’ I said, ‘It’s pretty crazy!’
“But I gotta say I was so enamoured by working with him and seeing what he was laying down every day I just felt sure that if anyone was gonna pull that off it would be him.”
The Brit joked he was a little upset not to be mentioned in Rami’s Best Actor Oscars speech: “I was hoping I’d get a little mention… seeing I was a consigliere (adviser) initially, but there are so many names and you can’t thank everyone,” Hunnam chuckled.
But Charlie is thrilled for his friend’s success: “I love him,” he gushed. “It’s a real testament to someone’s quality when you can forgive them enormous success… He has a good heart.”
And Hunnam will always have happy memories of romping around naked with Rami on the Papillon set, adding, “It was very cold (and) we were completely naked together. I’ve seen more of Rami than I might have chosen to… He looks good (naked).”