Tonight, Rami Malek made his debut appearance as host of SNL, touching in his opening monologue on his love of playing bad guys—including a new Bond villain, No Time to Die‘s Lyutsifer Safin.
“You know, I’ve played a lot of dramatic roles in my career—most recently, the new Bond villain—but I don’t usually do comedy,” the Oscar winner said. “I tend to do these really intense characters, which makes a lot of sense because people tell me I have what’s called a ‘resting villain face.’”
Malek knows that most people “would rather” play the hero. Weirdly, though, he’s “always been more drawn” to villains.
“I sympathize with them, you know? In Lion King, I’m Team Scar. I actually found Simba to be kind of annoying,” he admitted. “You want to be king? You’re like three years old. Relax.”
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Malek added that when watching Silence of the Lambs, he thinks “‘That poor Hannibal.’ I mean, that lady just keeps coming in and asking him all these questions. It’s like, leave the guy alone, Clarice!”
Villains, he feels, are too often misunderstood. “For example, Jaws is hungry. Dracula’s thirsty. Frankenstein’s…horny. Darth Vader? He’s just trying to reconnect with his son,” he joked. “And Freddy Kreuger? Encouraging kids to dream.”
It’s been gratifying of late for the actor to see villains get their time in the spotlight. “I mean, Disney’s even made movies where the villain’s name is in the title, right?” he said. “You’ve got Cruella, Maleficent, Bambi…”
Malek then went on to express his gratitude for the roles of this sort that have come his way, along with the career he’s been able to establish as an actor. “I never thought this would be my life. I’m the son of Egyptian immigrants and I had this kind of sheltered childhood,” Malek shared. “I grew up in the San Fernando Valley in L.A., but somehow, I had no idea that I lived right next to Hollywood…I truly thought that that was a million miles away, and it’s just a 10-minute drive. Well, it’s three hours with traffic.”
The actor said he “loved” growing up in Los Angeles with his family, including his mother, father, sister and twin brother.
“Yes, I’ve got a twin brother, and yes, he will be swapping places with me in one sketch tonight, and you’ll never know which one,” he joked. “It might even be right now…No, I’m just kidding. It’s me, Rami. Or is it?”
He then noted that both his brother (a teacher) and his sister (an E.R. doctor) are in the audience for tonight’s show. “I’m so proud of them. They are truly incredible people and they’ve devoted their lives to helping others,” he said. “But I have an Oscar, so…”
Malek is joined on SNL tonight by musical guest Young Thug. We’ll update this story with video of the monologue when it comes in.
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