Despite his newfound global fame in light of the success of Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek is a pretty private person. So when people found out that he has an identical twin, they certainly wanted to know more. And it turns out that the siblings’ lives couldn’t be more different from each other.
It seems as if celebrity siblings are all the rage at the moment. From the siblings of the Kardashian-Jenner clan to the younger generations of the Hadids and the Hemsworths, famous brothers and sisters have sure captured the public’s imagination. However, that doesn’t mean a liking for the limelight automatically runs in the family.
There are, of course, a lot of famous figures whose siblings lead far more ordinary existences. But this certainly isn’t to say that those lesser-known brothers and sisters aren’t worth knowing about. And in fact, many siblings of celebs are successful in their own right, whether or not they’re household names.
One such example is actress Nicole Kidman’s younger sister, Antonia Kidman. Antonia is a famous TV personality in her native Australia, where she is known as a parenting expert. The mother of six has hosted several shows on child-rearing, including From Here To Maternity and The Little Things.
Another celebrity with a successful sister is Jude Law. Like her famous brother, Natasha Law started out on the stage – but she has since become an artist. Her work is inspired by the female form, and she has collaborated with prestigious brands including Samsung, Vogue, Mulberry and Tiffany & Co.
Similarly, Brad Pitt’s brother, Doug Pitt, has found success off screen. Yes, he’s an accomplished businessman who specializes in information technology companies. And Doug also has a philanthropic streak. He once scaled Mount Kilimanjaro for charity and, separately, was made a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Republic of Tanzania.
Jennifer Lopez is another celebrity who knows full well what it’s like to have a successful sibling. Her younger sister, Lynda Lopez, is an Emmy-winning journalist – and she’s now a popular host for ABC Radio on GMA After Hours.
Who else does that leave? Well, while Rupert Grint shot to fame playing the meek Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, his brother, James Grint, was starting out as a daredevil racing driver. In fact, he’s now part of the top U.K. rallycross team Albatec.
But the latest celebrity sibling in whom the public have taken an interest is, as we’ve mentioned, the brother of Rami Malek. The actor rose to worldwide renown through playing the lead role in 2018 Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. But his rise to the top has been a long time in the making.
Malek entered the world in Los Angeles in 1981. His parents, Nelly Abdel-Malek and Said Malek, had emigrated to the United States from Cairo, Egypt, in 1978. And although the family started a fresh life in America, Egyptian culture remained an important part of their lives.
Malek’s mom and dad were keen to keep their roots alive. And as a result, the future actor spoke Egyptian Arabic with his family at home up until he was four years old. To help him practice the language further, Malek’s father would also occasionally wake him up late at night so that he could speak over the phone to his relatives in Egypt.
And thanks at least in part to his parents’ passion for their heritage, Malek also grew fond of his Egyptian roots. “I am so enamored and intertwined with Egyptian culture. It is the fabric of who I am,” the actor explained in an interview with GQ Middle East in September 2018.
However, while Malek is clearly proud of his heritage, he has also claimed that it set him apart from his peers at school. He found it hard to fit in, and it wasn’t until high school that he became assured enough to correct mispronunciations of his name. Meanwhile, though, he channeled his energy into his imagination.
In November 2018 Malek told NPR, “No one pronounced my name as Rami. So it was very difficult, I think, forming a sense of identity. And perhaps that’s why I gravitated to creating so many of my own [identities] in my own private moments of creating characters as a kid.”
And it was during his time at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California, that Malek channeled such creativity into acting. He counted actresses Rachel Bilson and Kirsten Dunst among his classmates and built his confidence by taking part in musical theater lessons and debating.
It was also at this school that Malek acted in the solo show Zooman and The Sign. What’s more, his performance in the production left both of his parents visibly moved. So, Malek decided to pursue a career in acting, later reading theater at the University of Evansville in Indiana.
After college, Malek moved to New York. However, he later returned to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career. Despite his determination, though, the aspiring star struggled to gain roles. And he later admitted that as a result, he became depressed and less confident during this period.
Still, after a year and a half of struggling to establish himself, Malek began picking up bit parts. His first role came in 2004 when he appeared in Gilmore Girls. And he later starred in TV series The War at Home and The Pacific as well as landing a part in the Night at the Museum film franchise.
These more prominent roles set Malek on the path to bigger TV projects. In 2010 he played Marcos Al-Zacar, a suicide bomber, in the serial crime drama 24. And in 2015 he debuted as Elliot Alderson, a computer geek with some mental health issues, in Mr. Robot.
Malek’s role in the psychological thriller Mr. Robot won him critical acclaim, too. He earned several award nominations and bagged both a Critics’ Choice Television Award and a Primetime Emmy Award. But things were about to get even bigger for the rising star.
In 2016 Malek was cast as Freddie Mercury in the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, which would chart the rise of the British rock band Queen. He certainly threw himself into the role, too, transforming himself into the famous frontman for the movie.
To prepare for the film, Malek relocated to the United Kingdom, where he took movement and dialect coaching. The actor also learned how to sing and play piano, and he spent four hours every day watching video footage of Mercury to hone his movements.
By the time filming for the movie began, Malek had totally embodied the role. What’s more, his physical similarities to Mercury were striking – and they were certainly noticed by the singer’s former bandmates. In September 2018 Queen guitarist Brian May told The New York Times, “We sometimes forgot he was Rami.”
Upon the release of Bohemian Rhapsody in October 2018, the film proved a hit at the box office. It grossed $817 million and became one of the most successful biopics of all time. And such accomplishments were credited, at least in part, to Malek’s impressive performance.
The actor’s portrayal of Mercury definitely won him critical acclaim. And when award season came around, he was nominated for an Academy Award, a Critics’ Choice Award and a BAFTA. He also won Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild best actor awards and the Breakthrough Performance prize at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
Unsurprisingly, as Malek’s profile grew, so too did the interest in his personal life. Yet the actor is famously tight-lipped in interviews and evades social media. So when, at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, he seemed to confirm a romance with his Bohemian Rhapsody co-star Lucy Boynton, the revelation came as a surprise.
While accepting his award for Breakthrough Performance, Malek addressed Boynton, who plays Mercury’s long-term partner, Mary Austin, in the film. He said, “Thank you, Lucy Boynton. You have been my ally, my confidant, my love. Thank you so much.”
And Malek’s relationship with Boynton isn’t the only revelation about his personal life to have emerged in the wake of Bohemian Rhapsody’s success. That’s because it also came to light that the actor has an identical twin brother – and people couldn’t get enough of him.
Malek’s twin is named Sami, and he’s just four minutes his famous brother’s junior. In a marked difference from the career of his sibling, though, he works in education as an English teacher. But that said, he sometimes likes to join Malek on the red carpet.
Sami was, for example, there to see Malek win his Best Actor Golden Globe in January 2019. And he also joined some of his brother’s Bohemian Rhapsody co-stars at a Queen and Adam Lambert gig in Las Vegas, Nevada, in September 2018.
Malek first opened up about his brother back in 2015 during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! And even though the pair seem more or less identical in terms of appearance, the actor stated that they “don’t look as much alike as [they] used to.”
Like many twins, though, Malek and Sami had, it appears, used their resemblance to their advantage while growing up. Yes, in a conversation with Kimmel, Malek confessed, “We were troublemakers as kids. We did some bad stuff.”
Giving one example of their past antics, Malek recalled a phone call that he’d received from Sami just after the latter had left theater school. “He calls me in kind of a panic, and he goes, ‘Hey, do you know a Greek monologue from a Greek tragedy?’” the actor revealed.
Continuing the story, Rami remembered, “I’m like, ‘Yeah, of course. I’ve just been doing this for four years.’ He goes, ‘Listen, I need you to come down to my university’ – a major American university here in Los Angeles – [and] he goes, ‘I need you to do this for my class. It’s going to give me the points I need to get my degree.”
It turned out, you see, that one of Sami’s lecturers was offering extra points to anyone willing to deliver the monologue. So to help his twin out, Malek agreed to do the performance while pretending to be his brother. “I’m like, all right. I can do this,” the actor explained.
Malek continued, “I suit up, and I go. I get over there; I’m running late, running over the hill, parked the car in the red.” Then, after conversing with Sami, the actor figured out where he needed to be and prepared himself for one of his most important performances up to that date.
Describing what went down, Malek revealed, “I deliver this monologue in front of the entire lecture hall, and I get a few applauds. People dig it, and I think she starts looking at me kind of accusatorially, like, ‘Where the hell did you come up with that?’”
But after convincing his teacher that acting was simply a hobby of his, Malek was able to win the points for Sami, helping him get his degree. That being said, having a famous actor for a brother comes with its downsides as well as its plus points.
You see, while Malek admitted that they both get more attention following his fame, apparently not all of it is positive. “They used to say, he’s kind of unusual, and now it’s more, ‘Hey, your guy’s exotic.’ So he’s loving being called exotic too, I think,” the actor revealed.
Meanwhile, Sami also has to face the wrath of fans who think he’s Malek simply trying to escape attention. “He gets the brunt of it,” Malek revealed. “He’s always like, ‘No, it’s not me. I have a twin.’ And they’re like, ‘Screw you, man. Stop lying.’”