Rami Malek went unexpectedly viral on the evening of October 29 when a teenage fan approached the actor in New York City with her cell phone already recording in the selfie position. When fan Xan Black asked if Malek would say hello to her friends, he politely rejected the offer and agreed to take a photograph instead. The video went viral, earning over 2 million views on Twitter in less than 24 hours.
“[My publicist] said, ‘There’s something I should make you aware of that’s getting a little bit of attention on the Internet,’” Malek told Vanity Fair about learning of the viral video’s existence. “Once someone says something like that to me, it is of course a moment of, ‘What did I do?!’”
Malek expected the worst when his publicist drew his attention to the video, but he was pleasantly surprised when he finally watched the seven-second clip seen ’round the internet. Although many on social media were quick to criticize Malek for not being game enough to take a video with an adoring fan, Malek explained that he’s not opposed to engaging with fans, the fans just have to be open and up front about what they’re asking him to do.
“I am happy to take photos with anyone,” Malek said. “I just want to be aware of what people are doing in the moment. When someone films you automatically, it’s a bit intrusive.”
Since Malek had no idea he was being filmed by Black, his first reaction to her question was not to simple go along with her proposal. “People will pull you into their cameras, and sometimes you can watch them Instagram [that photo] within two seconds,” the actor said. “I can’t quite wrap my head around [it]. … Something about it is not right and a bit unsettling.”
Malek has been making the press around in support of his new movie, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” in which he plays Queen frontman and rock legend Freddie Mercury. The movie opens nationwide this Friday, November 2, courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
“I’m laughing about it,” Malek said about the video. “I’m going to do Ellen, and I’m thinking about bringing it up because I find it so funny.”
THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST EMBARRASSING THING TO EVER HAPPEN TO ME pic.twitter.com/qIesyA3eWQ
— xan 🌾 (@enemyfiIm) October 30, 2018