How Did Rami Malek and Rachel Bilson Meet? The Other Famous Actor in Their Circle

Actor Rami Malek took several years to gain notoriety in Hollywood, but when he did, he made it big. Meanwhile, a former friend of his, Rachel Bilson, scored her first leading role early on and has continued to work in TV ever since. Discover how the two met, why people are talking about them in 2021, and another famous actor who grew up in their orbit.

Rami Malek became famous for ‘Mr. Robot’

After studying theater in college, Malek began acting in the ’00s. He appeared in an episode of Gilmore Girls before earning recurring roles on 24 and The Pacific. Malek also had a notable role in the Night at the Museum movie franchise and acted in the acclaimed indie drama Short Term 12.

But the actor didn’t truly break out until 2015 when he began starring in the USA Network thriller Mr. Robot. The role earned him his first Emmy Award in 2016. After four hit seasons, the series came to an end in 2019. Malek then starred in the biographical film Bohemian Rhapsody, winning the Best Actor Oscar.

Rachel Bilson starred in ‘The O.C.’

Like Malek, Bilson debuted on TV in the early ’00s. Like him, one of her earliest one-off small-screen appearances was in a WB show — Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That same year, she was cast in her breakout role in the Fox teen drama series The O.C., in which she portrayed Summer Roberts.

After The O.C., Bilson appeared in a handful of movie roles. She made her way back to TV with an arc in How I Met Your Mother and in another lead role in the CW drama Hart of Dixie. Following the latter’s cancelation, she recurred in the musical drama series Nashville.

Malek asked Bilson to take down a photo she posted of him from their high school days

Composite image of Rami Malek and Rachel Bilson
L: Rami Malek | John Shearer/Getty Images, R: Rachel Bilson | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Christian Siriano

Not only did Malek and Bilson start their careers at the same time, but they knew one another in high school. “Rami was a good friend of mine,” Bilson told Dax Shepard on his podcast, Armchair Expert, in March 2021. “We were in the same crew, she continued, noting they “did The Crucible together senior year.”

Bilson spoke of a photo of her and Malek she shared on her Instagram in early 2019, which she deemed “the dorkiest picture of both of us” from their days at their Sherman Oaks, California school. But Malek DM’d her, asking her to take it down. “I was super bummed,” she added of the incident.

They were a grade ahead of Kirsten Dunst

(L-R): Kirsten Dunst and Rachel Bilson on May 20, 2010, in Antibes, France.
(L-R): Kirsten Dunst and Rachel Bilson on May 20, 2010, in Antibes, France. | John Shearer/amfAR1/Getty Images for amfAR

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Notre Dame High School churned out several notable stars. Among them is Kirsten Dunst, who was a grade below Bilson and Malek. She and the latter reconnected for Variety’s Actors on Actors series. “We had a musical theater class together,” Malek noted in the interview.

“I remember you knocking it out of the park in one moment,” he added of a particular performance. Dunst recalled Malek and his twin brother, Sami, as being “flirts.” Though not necessarily friends, former classmates Dunst and Bilson have posed together on multiple occasions at industry events (above).