Rami Malek attends the 2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards.
If you ever supposed that winning an Academy Award called for a well-earned break, you’d be wrong according to Rami Malek. Since earning the Best Actor Oscar in 2019 for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury, the actor wrapped up his star-making series Mr. Robot, starred alongside Denzel Washington in The Little Things and was scary as ever as Bond villain Lyutsifer Safin in No Time to Die. Recently, Malek voiced “The World of Absolut Cocktails: Born to Mix,” which personifies classic cocktails to inspire people who are open-minded and optimistic to come together.
We’ll next see Malek in David O. Russel’s Amsterdam and then, in 2023, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. While we wait, Malek called in from London to give us a hint about these top-secret movies and his favorite Absolut cocktail.
What is your go-to Absolut cocktail?
I liked the classics, so an extra cold, Absolut martini. Very dry. Very cold, as I said, with a twist. That's probably at the top of the list.
I do like the aesthetic. I think I'm very particular about how I cut the rind off the lemon. I think it's very precise. Fastidious and precise. Perhaps, just grazing a bit of lemon on the rim of the glass adds a nice touch, I think.
What sealed the deal for you to lend your voice to Absolut?
It was a no-brainer for me. Absolut asked me to lend my voice to the campaign and when I saw the concept, it was an immediate yes. It just struck me as a proper representation of how vibrant and unique each and every one of us is and that was really reflected in what the ambition for the campaign was. From its inception, Absolut has never been afraid of infusing universal inclusive values into their campaign and their identity and so for me, it was just an easy nod of the head.
What do you enjoy about voiceover work versus on-screen acting?
Well, there’s less time in between takes, I'll tell you that. But it's so fascinating to me the nuance that you can deliver with the slightest, most subtle inflection or change of pitch or even just adding a smile to your face if you’re doing voiceover might alter the resonance of how sentences are received. I really enjoy it. Over all those years of Mr. Robot, it was never something that felt tedious.
You grew up in the San Fernando Valley. Did you ever frequent Casa Vega?
I love Casa Vega and now everybody's put it in their movies, so it's really hard to get in there. A great margarita over there.
Absolut has taught me that you can make a great version of that with vodka, as well. I've tried that and it's quite tasty.
Do you have any other favorite Valley restaurants?
I'm gonna blow up all my spots.
How about just one?
I love all the kind of dark interior places that don’t see the light of day, which probably says a lot about me. But there's a place called The Smoke House that is across from Warner Bros. where, I believe, that's where George Clooney and Grant Heslov came up with their production company name.
It’s another great place to grab a martini. It's one of those places that still gives you that tiny little jug next to your martini. That's rare to come across these days.
We’ll see you later this year in Amsterdam and then next year in Oppenheimer. What's it like to work on projects with such esteemed casts?
I'm trying to be extraordinarily particular about my work. Maybe too particular, one might say. But when you have a story like that that has a positive message— I can't talk much about that— I think it speaks to what we are capable of as humans when we come together and show a lot of empathy and respect for one another. And those are the things that I want to be a part of and the life lessons that are in that film, and especially in Oppenheimer as well, I think will really resonate with anyone who sees it. It asks you to have a conversation with yourself about what you want to stand for and stand behind and what you're willing to fight for and fight against. I'm very cognizant of where I'm putting my voice. And even in the Absolut campaign, I think what I really liked about this project as well was the unique, vibrant, people you see in these ads and the idea of us coming together and being accepting, inclusive and really appreciating one another's identity no matter what it is something that Absolute has delivered on from their inception. I'm trying to really tether that thought and relationship to all the projects I do.
Was that something that has guided you from the beginning or is this something that has developed over the course of your career?
I think in the beginning you're just struggling to get whatever you could get. And then there comes a point where, at least for me, where I came to a point where I started to realize I needed a bit more ownership over what I was doing and what I wanted to be associated with. I'm in a very fortunate position to be able to make those choices at the moment. It's going quite well. I’m very happy to be on a film where you get to go to work with Margot Robbie and Christian Bale and John David Washington. That cast was phenomenal to work with. And every day you would see someone who you just so admired, and I think that the final product will be a very fun, heartwarming, chaotic event for all of us that we need. We need to get back in cinemas and we need to get back together, joining each other's company. Eating, drinking and enjoying being alive and sharing everything again.
This interview has been edited and condensed. Learn how to make your own Absolut Lime Vodkarita below.
1½ Parts Absolut Lime
⅔ Part Lime Juice
½ Part Agave Nectar
Fill a shaker with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice cubes and a salt rim.
Photography by: Zack Whitford/BFA.com