The soon to be released Bohemian Rhapsody is a “foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury” according to Twentieth Century Fox.
The iconic, enigmatic and arguably one of the most famous voices in music history is portrayed by Rami Malek. In a recent interview with EW, Malek revealed what it took to dig deeper behind the legendary frontman to understand who he was and what shaped him.
“I would consistently go back to his interviews and performances just to understand the [different] sides of him,” says Malek, who rose to fame in his award winning role in Mr. Robot.
“Obviously, there is a very brave, brash entertainer who hits the stage. And then there is a human being who can be reclusive and lonely behind closed doors. It was a challenge just to correlate who this person was — someone who had grown up in Zanzibar and got shipped off to school in Bombay, and upon his return to Zanzibar, fled a revolution with his family and went to London. That type of childhood is emblematic of someone who is starving for identity.”
Bohemian Rhapsody will follow the band’s almost meteoric rise in the 70s with their revolutionary sound and, now, iconic songs. It will also trace Mercury’s unexpected turn to follow a solo career, which was not as successful and sees him reunite with the band for Live Aid.
The actor was so committed to capturing Mercury, who has legions of fans of all ages nearly three decades after his death, that he flew to London to immerse himself in “all things Freddie”: reading biographies and watching old videos, as well as speaking with Queen members Roger Taylor and Brian May.
Of the involvement of May and Taylor, producer Graham King said, “They gave us creative freedom. I wanted to keep them as involved as possible. I needed their blessing for my own personal peace of mind.” Third band member John Deacon retired from music in 1997.
Bohemian Rhapsody hasn’t been without drama behind the scenes, an ironic echo of the band’s history, including the firing of director Bryan Singer, accusations of producers mishandling Mercury’s sexuality and more.
Despite everything, the film was finished with Malek adding, “I can wholeheartedly say I would never let this film be unfinished. Every moment where there was a challenge on set, I just reminded myself: What would Freddie do? And I guarantee, he would’ve seen it through.”
Bohemian Rhapsody opens in cinemas in the UK on October 24, November 1 in Australia and November 2 in the USA.