Rami Malek is nominated for Best Actor for his stunning turn as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. While the actor had to do some serious mental prep for his turn as the Queen frontman, he also had to change up his appearance. The fake teeth, spot-on wardrobe, and characteristic movements helped create the illusion, but Malek also spent time with trainer Jay Cardiello to get those enviable arms and insane flexibility.
Malek told GQ that he spent time with Cardiello to improve his flexibility and muscle tone in order to step into the role.
“I worked with this great guy called Jay Cardiello. We were working in New York just to get my body in shape to do things that Freddie did day in and day out that I wasn’t quite used to,” he said. “That guy was one flexible dude. It was intense training and stretching. Because everyday I was going to have to do take, after take, after take.”
Cardiello spoke with People to explain exactly what it takes to turn yourself into a super fit rock god.
His rules involve setting the foundation by getting enough sleep to get your body ready for a workout. He says that sleep impacts everything from your hormones to your appetite and he won’t even train people if they haven’t slept the night before. On top of that, he pushes the importance of hydration.
Cardiello also says it’s important to set the mental foundation for a workout. He says you should use the first part of your day to set an intention for the rest of the day.
Despite what you might think, Cardiello isn’t obsessed with cardio. He helped Malek focus his breathing so he could perform the rigorous role without gasping for breath. To accomplish this, he would have Malek do training moves while reciting his lines. The pair also focused on flexibility and mobility in order to re-create Mercury’s moves.
If you’re thinking that this all takes hours and hours a day, Cardiello says some of Malek’s workouts were just 15 minutes long when things got busy.
Of course, it isn’t all about the workout. Mike Myers, who co-starred in the film, says that Malek would stay in character no matter what they were doing in order to embrace the role.
“He stays in character all day. One of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. He caught the spirit of what I thought Freddie Mercury was going to be,” said Myers on the Oscar’s red carpet. “It was very moving.”
To get into the right mind frame, Malek said that he worked with a great team of trainers and obsessed over the singer.
“I watched him as much as I possibly could,” Malek said on the red carpet.