Arabs and Muslims have long fallen victims to stereotypical portrayals in Western-produced films, where they are almost exclusively featured as villains.
So, when Egyptian-American actor and newly Oscar-winner Rami Malek was reported to be in talks for the role of the next James Bond villain, people had some concerns.
In response to the news, several social media users expressed their unease about Malek's likely new role, fearing he might play a character who perpetuates inaccuracies about the Arab world.
Citing "well-placed sources," Collider reports that Malek is in final negotiations to play the villain in the upcoming Bond 25. According to the source, the parties had been waiting for the Academy Awards' results before signing the deal.
Malek took home Best Actor for his role as Freddie Mercury in Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody at the Oscars last Sunday, and his win is expected to have a significant impact on the deal.
The source added that they have successfully negotiated a production schedule that would accommodate the shooting of the final season of Mr. Robot, in which Malek stars as the protagonist, Elliot Alderson.
Shooting is scheduled to begin in April and the film is set to hit the screens in 2020.
Would Malek play an Arab villain?
According to Variety, Saïd Taghmaoui, a French-American actor of Moroccan descent, was being considered for the role of the lead villain in Bond 25 prior to the departure of Danny Boyle as director.
Boyle dropped out of the production in August 2018 over "creative differences" with the producers.
Back in September, Taghmaoui said producers were torn between having a Russian villain or a Middle Easterner, supporting speculations that Malek would play an Arab villain if he is officially cast in the film.
Whether or not Malek will partake in the film and more details about the character are yet to be confirmed, but the actor has previously addressed the topic of typecasting in Hollywood.
"I've been disgruntled for a certain time about all the roles for Middle Eastern people in Hollywood [being almost exclusively] the roles of the terrorist. It's sad to see people going for just this role and playing the villain, and I always wanted to do something else," Malek once said in an interview with BBC Arabic.
He added that he tries to perform a variety of characters and "show range."
Additionally, in a recent interview with GQ Middle East, Malek said he rejects roles that portray "Arabs or Middle Easterners in a negative light."