In the 1970s and ’80s, Queen was one of the biggest bands in the world. The British rockers routinely sold out stadiums across the globe. Led by the Zanzibar-born Freddie Mercury, the band was eventually inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Hollywood has been working on making a movie about the band for years, and that dream is finally becoming a reality. Called Bohemian Rhapsody – named after one of the group’s most famous songs – it’s set to be released on October 31st. We’re already dusting off our old album covers and re-watching concert videos on YouTube with bated breath and eager excitement. Here’s a couple of reasons why you should too.
Emmy-winning Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury
Fans of Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek, the star of the popular “Mr. Robot” on the USA Network, are anxious to see how the shy and restrained thespian transforms himself into a 1970s-era rock star. But if the trailers are any indication, he is well on his way for an Oscar nod. Freddie Mercury was so much more than a wonderful singer-songwriter. He was an enigma, a complete one-off, where his charisma matched his talent and then some.
Casting an actor to embody such a force is by no means an easy task. And to be frank, nobody can ever quite do the man justice. But in Rami Malek, it’s fair to say that we’ve given it as good a shot as we could hope for. Malek seems to have nailed the mannerisms, the style and even the walk of the famed star. And we can’t wait to fully experience the man’s acting chops in Bohemian Rhapsody.
Malek does all the classic Freddies
There’s Live Aid Freddie. There’s leather catsuit Freddie. There is even harlequin leotard Freddie. Red leather trouser Freddie. Fur coat Freddie. Be-crowned Freddie. White jumpsuit Freddie with angel wings. It’s astonishing how many of these costumes are indelibly burned into the memory. And safe to say Malek dons them all with glaring style. Do we actually need another reason to be all over this film?
Behind the scenes drama
Bohemian Rhapsody had been in development since the start of the decade, going through the myriad stages of development hell. British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen was first roped in to play Mercury. After numerous disputes over what the biopic would cover, Cohen had left the project in July 2013. Many articles published over those months have stated that Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor wanted to keep the film free from Mercury’s scandalous life events, very specifically his AIDS diagnosis and battle.
In November 2016, Bryan Singer was hired to direct the project. Rami Malek was cast and the film was given the nudge it required by 20th Century Fox and New Regency. However, the film would still see struggles ahead. In December last year, Bryan Singer was fired from the project due to his absences (with one-third of filming yet to be completed). After that, Dexter Fletcher took over the helm. It seemed like there was no end in sight.
However, surprisingly enough, principal photography was wrapped up in January this year. All that’s left to do is wait. Not surprisingly, there has been a significant amount of backlash about the production’s deliberate choice to sanitize Mercury’s salacious life. Safe to say the off-screen drama during this film’s development has been nothing short of crazy. And we can’t wait to finally see if the final product will actually elevate from all this. Fingers crossed!
The greatest hits
Although aptly named, Bohemian Rhapsody is not only about the eponymous song. It’ll tell the story of the band’s 15-year journey from their formation up to their performance at Live Aid in 1985. So excuse us if we are a bit too excited to christen our eyes with some of the best Queen songs on the big screen. “Under Pressure”, a song that came from an impromptu jam session between David Bowie and the band. “We Are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You”, the unrelenting kings of sports anthems. “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, Mercury’s tribute to Elvis Presley. “Fat Bottomed Girls”, the true father of Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda. And what about “The Show Must Go On”, May’s heartbreaking tribute to his frontman, who was getting weaker and weaker because of his battle with HIV/AIDS?
This list goes on. We can’t wait to see how the overlords of this project decide to put the classics in just the right moments in the film. We are prepared for a nostalgia overload.
Ultimately, films are all about the notion of storytelling, and with Bohemian Rhapsody we simply have a fantastic story. The band was, and still are huge, one of the most successful ever. And their frontman was a fascinating character, a true enigma, and a quite breathtaking talent. We want to understand him and know more about what drove him, and the dynamics within the quarter. No matter your opinions on their music, it is hard not to be intrigued. For that reason, sign us up.