Broadsheet Trailer Park: Bohemian Rhapsody


What you may need to know

1. Almost 50 years after they first formed, and 27 years after the death of Freddie Mercury in 1991, “They” have gotten around to creating a biopic of the band that everybody loves to love, Queen.

The official synopsis reads:

“The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound, their near-implosion as Mercury’s lifestyle spirals out of control, and their triumphant reunion on the eve of Live Aid, where Mercury, facing a life-threatening illness, leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music.”

2. Naturally, the main focus is on larger-than-larger-than-life Mercury, played with frankly alarming physical presence by Rami Malik (Mr. Robot). Joseph Mazzello plays John Deacon, Gwilym Lee plays Brian May and Ben Hardy plays Roger Taylor. You may not recognise the names, but you’ve definitely seen them.

3. The film has been in development for several years, with multiple changes on both sides of the camera. Sacha Baron-Cohen was attached to star and produce back in 2011; inspired casting for sure, but he eventually left (amicably, according to Deadline) during pre-production. It seems Cohen wanted to produce a gritty and dramatic “tell-all” about Mercury’s life, while remaining members of Queen Brian May and Roger Taylor were keen on a more family-friendly affair – as we can see from the finished product.

Meanwhile, David Fincher was touted as director in those early days, but the gig eventually went to Bryan Singer. After on-set tension between Singer and Malik, however, Singer was fired from production mid-filming, and is subsequently unmentioned in any of the film’s official literature. Yikes.

5. Bryan Singer was replaced by – of all people – Dexter Fletcher, director of the musical Sunshine On Leith (2013) and last year’s Eddie the Eagle. Also people may remember him from pretentious late-80s CBBC teen drama Press Gang.

6. There’s the ubiquitous Aidan Gillen, playing one of the band’s managers over the years. Also representing the parish is Downton Abbey’s Allen Leech.

7. Looks like all the musical biopic clichés are present and correct here. That said, Mercury was (and still is) a fascinating figure, and without doubt one of the most influential rock stars who ever lived. Despite some questionable licensing decisions, May and Taylor should be commended for the work they’ve done to keep his legacy alive all this time.

8. Plus, there’s the fact that a biopic is in many ways a fairground ride through a band’s greatest hits. For that reason alone, this is certain to get a lot of attention when it’s released later this year.

Verdict: A night at the cinema (insert your own Queen pun here if you wish; there are a zillion)

Release: November TBC

12 thoughts on “Broadsheet Trailer Park: Bohemian Rhapsody

  1. ivan

    From Popbitch ages ago…
    “>> Killer Queen <<
    Our money's on Taylor

    Showing once again why John Deacon is everyone's favourite living member of Queen – Sacha Baron Cohen spoke to Rolling Stone about the Freddie Mercury biopic he was making with Roger Taylor and Brian May.

    "A member of the band, I won't say who, he said, 'This is such a great movie because it's got such an amazing thing that happens in the middle of the movie,'" Cohen recalled.

    "I go, 'What happens in the middle of the movie?'

    "He goes, 'Freddie dies'.""

    1. Ina.

      I wonder will the film deal with Freddie’s racial politics. I’m guessing it’ll paper over that.

  2. Sheila

    I thought it was binned when there trouble on set, I didn’t realise they got a new director in!
    Rami Malik is a great casting for this.

    1. italia'90

      Brilliant casting, love Rami Malik.
      Can’t wait to go see it.

      My first concert experience was Queen in Slane.

  3. George

    Everyone loves them? They played in South Africa during apparatheid, so no, not everyone.

      1. bisted

        …maybe they think they are above oppressed people…like the Rolling Stones who played apartheid Tel Aviv…good to know they couldn’t sell-out Croke Park…shame on all you people who go to Croke Park…

  4. richardSplash

    I can imagine Malik’s problem with him, how has Bryan Singer skated on all those accusations?

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