‘Bohemian Rhapsody’: A Glorious Tribute to Freddie Mercury
On Freddie Mercury’s birth anniversary, taking a look at his biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.
Legends don’t die and Freddie Mercury, the “lover of life and singer of songs” as his Queen bandmate Brian May described him, is celebrated every year on 5 September, his birthday, for the music that he’s left behind. Who can forget his buck teeth charm or his rare four-octave vocal range? X-Men director Bryan Singer made sure that his biopic Bohemian Rhapsody has immortalised the icon for generations to come.
The 2018 release chronicles the years leading up to Queen’s appearance at the Live Aid concert in 1985. Rami Malek, who won awards galore for playing Elliot Alderson in the critically acclaimed television series Mr Robot, plays Mercury on screen. Before the release of the film, Singer had revealed the lead cast for the biopic via Instagram.
Bohemian Rhapsody has been in gestation for twelve years already. At one point in the film's development, Borat actor Sacha Baron Cohen was reportedly cast to portray Mercury. But he reportedly dropped out over disagreements with Queen’s bandmates, apparently over how the biopic would portray the more salacious details of Mercury’s life. Soon after, Skyfall actor Ben Winshaw was considered for the part and director Dexter Fletcher was to helm the project. But that partnership too fell apart over creative differences in 2014. Finally, Malek and Singer signed on for the biopic in November 2016 and it’s been all guns blazing ever since.
According to a Rolling Stone report, Queen members couldn’t be more excited to have Malek and Singer on board.
Rami Malek is completely living and breathing Freddie already, which is just wonderful to see. If you’ve ever seen Bryan Singer’s X-Men films, or the groundbreaking movie The Usual Suspects, you’ll know this is a director with extraordinary imagination and style, a perfect choice to recreate the fabulous Queen years, which brought us such unforgettable moments as Live Aid, which we can reveal will be faithfully recreated for a key sequence the film.Members of Queen, as reported by Rolling Stone.
Singer had also shared a picture from the sets of the recreated Live Aid concert of 1985, one of the biggest he’s ever created for a film.
And wherever he goes, he finds a little bit of Queen.
Graham King produced Bohemian Rhapsody via his GK Films for 20th Century Fox and New Regency. The ambitious project had been in development with King for about nine years and the most recent script is reportedly from Theory Of Everything writer Anthony McCarten.
Allen Leech, one of the newest members of the cast, essayed the role of Freddie Mercury’s personal manager Paul Prenter, someone who wielded great influence on Mercury but later became the man to sell him and the band out to British tabloids about the lead singer’s former lovers and the fact that he was dying of AIDS.
This has to be definitive, respectful, not avoiding any of the issues, and it has to be entertaining, something wonderful, so you come out feeling uplifted and joyful about the talent that Freddie was. It’s a tall order. If you look at our history, we’ve never dodged any issues. That’s not us. It will be honest and truthful. We finally have a script that ticks those boxes. It’s penetrating and quite challenging.Brian May, Queen bandmate (as reported by Huffington Post)
Interestingly, Freddie Mercury had a deep connection with India you won’t believe. Born Farrokh Bulsara, Freddie was of a Parsi descent, who alongside his family moved to Mumbai as a child. He is known to have studied at St. Peter’s boarding school in Panchgani when he was eight, and that’s where he got the name Freddie. His talent was hard to miss even then. While in school, Mercury together with four of his classmates formed their first band, The Hectics, which became the unofficial school band soon enough.
On Freddie Mercury’s birth anniversary, here’s raising a toast to Bohemian Rhapsody and the world’s first Indian rock star.
(This piece is from The Quint’s archives and is being republished to mark Freddie Mercury’s birth anniversary)
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