Rami Malek To Star In Thriller Amateur From Slow Horses Director James Hawes

Rami Malek is circling his next lead role in the thriller "Amateur" from 20th Century Studios. Deadline reports that James Hawes — who directed all six episodes of the first season of "Slow Horses," the Gary Oldman-led Apple TV+ series — has also boarded the project. Right now, it's still in the development stages, with Malek in line to executive produce alongside Hutch Parker and Dan Wilson.

The plot of "Amateur" reportedly "follows a CIA cryptographer who, after his wife is tragically killed in a London terrorist attack, demands his bosses go after them." The CIA isn't having any of that, and "when it becomes clear they won't act due to conflicting internal priorities," the cryptographer takes matters into his own hands and "blackmails the agency into training him."

Malek is no stranger to thriller territory, having starred in "Mr. Robot" for four seasons before the show ended in 2019. Since winning the Oscar for Best Actor for his role as Queen singer Freddie Mercury in "Bohemian Rhapsody," he has mostly turned up in key supporting roles on the big screen, such as "The Little Things," "No Time to Die," and "Amsterdam." His next film, Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer," sees him joining another star-studded ensemble, so it will be interesting to see how well he's able to carry a movie on his own.

Rami Malek: CIA cryptographer

The title and premise of "Amateur" make it sound like Rami Malek's CIA cryptographer could be in over his head as he takes on terrorists in London. Though he did play a soldier in "The Pacific," Malek isn't necessarily an actor who screams "action hero" in the Arnold Schwarzenegger way, but maybe that's the point. I wasn't aware the CIA even employed cryptographers; the only cryptographer I know is Robert Langdon, who's usually on the run from the CIA, at least in that one Dan Brown novel, "The Lost Symbol" (source material for the canceled Peacock series of the same name). But you learn something new every day.

According to Deadline, Gary Spinelli ("American Made") wrote the latest draft of the script for "Amateur," which makes it sound like this project may have originated from a different screenwriter and already been through the studio mill. Hutch Parker has co-produced a number of Marvel movies for Sony and Fox, including "Venom: Let There Be Carnage," "Logan," several other "X-Men" films, and the 2015 "Fantastic Four" reboot. He and Dan Wilson previously worked together on "Lyle, Lyle Crocodile," "Home Sweet Home Alone," and "Patriots Day."

James Hawes is currently in post-production on his feature-length directorial debut, "One Life." Until now, he's worked more in television, notably helming two "Black Mirror" episodes, "Smithereens" and the feature-length season 3 finale, "Hated in the Nation." Though "Slow Horses" has an almost perfect Rotten Tomatoes score (95% for season 1 and 100% for season 2), /Film's Valerie Ettenhofer called Gary Oldman's performance "insufferable." However, the series does center on "a group of MI5 rejects," so Hawes has experience telling stories about intelligence operatives, which could prepare him for directing Rami Malek as the unlikely CIA cryptography hero at the heart of "Amateur."