Rami Malek has revealed he only agreed to play a James Bond villain after he was assured the character would have no religious or ideological affiliations.
“I said, ‘We cannot identify him with any act of terrorism reflecting an ideology or religion,'” said the actor.
“‘That’s not something I would entertain, so if that is why I am your choice then you can count me out.'”
Malek, who is of Egyptian descent, won an Oscar for playing Queen singer Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.
The 38-year-old was subsequently cast in the as yet untitled 25th Bond film, which is currently shooting in the UK.
In an interview published in the Daily Mirror and Daily Express newspapers, Malek revealed he spoke to director Cary Fukunaga to confirm he would not be playing a religious fundamentalist.
“That was clearly not his vision,” the actor is quoted as saying. “He’s a very different kind of terrorist.”
Malek said he was playing “a great character” and that he was “very excited” to be cast in the film, due out in April 2020.
“It’s another extremely clever script from the people who have figured out exactly what people want in those movies,” he continued.
His character is described as “a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology” in the film’s official plot summary.
Malek’s casting was announced when the latest Bond film – currently known as “Bond 25” – began shooting in April.
The production, which marks Daniel Craig’s fifth outing as secret agent James Bond, has rarely been out of the headlines since.
In May Craig sustained an injury while filming an action sequence on location in Jamaica that required him to undergo ankle surgery.
That was followed in June by news that a crew member sustained a minor injury during the filming of a controlled explosion at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire.
Earlier this week it was reported singer Grace Jones – a Bond villain herself in 1985’s A View to a Kill – had walked away from a cameo role.
The producers of the film have yet to comment on those reports or on Malek’s quotes, reportedly made in New York as he finished shooting TV series Mr Robot.