They may bitter rivals on screen but the pair are the best of friends in real life which ironically helped them perfect their scene-stealing onscreen tension in No Time To Die.
Image: GC Images)
They play bitter enemies on screen – but new Bond villain Rami Malek has told how he became good pals with 007 Daniel Craig.
Rami, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Queen icon Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, plays a man bent on revenge in No Time To Die.
And he and Craig bonded on set as they spent hours together to perfect the tension between the characters.
Rami, 40, said: “Daniel has done such an incredible job as Bond. It is so important he goes out on a high and I really think we have achieved that. I pushed him hard on set, he pushed me hard on set and we really did push each other to the limits.
“This is one of the fiercest Bond v Bond villains I think there has ever been. That’s why we worked each other so hard to get this right.”
He reckons his baddie character Safin will prove as memorable as famous Bond villains like Dr No, Blofeld, Jaws and Auric Goldfinger.
Rami went on: “It was fun to play a villain and Bond villains are some of the most iconic in history. He is a unique and complex villain, like something I don’t think we have seen before.
“Daniel called him misunderstood and I think there is probably some truth in that.This Bond is going to shock people.”
Commenting on No Time To Die – which is out on September 30 – producer Barbara Broccoli described Safin as “the supervillain”, adding: “He’s the one that really gets under Bond’s skin. He’s a nasty piece of work”.
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Craig, 53, has admitted that he struggled with the pressure of taking over the 007 role from Pierce Brosnan, saying he often felt “physically and mentally under siege”.
In new Apple TV documentary Being James Bond, he tells how he got so drunk on Martinis after landing the role that he had a three-day hangover. When he was finally announced as the sixth Bond in 2005, he stayed up at night reading the negative reactions.
But Rami said of his pal: “I think he has brought a real sensitivity to the character.
“We have seen some real vulnerability and a lot of back story that explains why Bond is like he is. That sensitivity really manifests itself in this film.”
Rami – born in California to Egyptian immigrant parents – shot to fame in the US playing a computer hacker in TV series Mr Robot before finding worldwide stardom in Bohemian Rhapsody in 2018.