After 10 years in the making and a bumpy start, Bohemian Rhapsody has made it to the big screen and soon to be on DVD/Digital download (mark the 16th February in your calendar UK fans). From the detailed Live Aid set with the perfectly positioned cups on the piano to the costumes and the music, its not hard to see why this movie has been suggested for a nomination at the Oscars for the likes of Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor.
With a not-so great start, Brian and Roger thought they would never find anyone to play Freddie until Rami Malek came along. “He absolutely smashed it – it’s not enough to look the part. He inhabits Freddie” says May.
If that’s not enough to win you over into clicking the pre-order button, what is?!
Speaking to LouderSound, May said: “In a way the film mirrors the actual history of the band. We hardly had a smooth path in Queen, but some of those moments of adversity do make you stronger, and it’s the same for the film. I wouldn’t even hesitate to say I think it’s wonderful.”
Despite learning of them only 10 years ago, I have loved their music ever since – little did I know just how much of their music I knew – yet I never realised it was theirs. *Flashback to when I heard Freddie sing ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ and loved it more than the Elvis version, looked up the song and realised Queen were the original artists*.
Put it this way, if I had a time-machine, Live Aid would definitely be on my list of things to see. I laughed and cried during the whole movie as did most in the cinema, the DVD comes with the full 25 minutes of the legendary 1985 Live Aid concert compared to the short five minutes in the cinema. And yes I did come home and watch the real footage of Live Aid after the cinema and will again after watching the DVD version – sad? I think not.
Rami Malek (Freddie), Lucy Boyenton (Mary), Gwilym Lee (who I am convinced is really Brian May travelling back in time), Ben Hardy (Roger) and Joseph Mazzello (John – but like Brian I’m convinced it’s younger John himself) all play their roles fabulously and their chemistry is just as real on set as it is off-set. The stars have engaged with fans resulting in memes and vines being associated with each band member – creating a new generation of Queen fans.
Critics have complained the timeline in the movie is wrong, for instance, Freddie tells the boys before the 1985 concert he has AIDS when in reality he told them after. But what people need to remember is they only have two hours to fit Freddie’s story in. The movie is about his life and the story of Queen in the run up to Live Aid so if they stuck to the timeline, they wouldn’t have been able to include his diagnosis which would have caused an uproar – and quite rightly so.
Another fact that caused anger amongst a few was that Mercury was seen as causing friction for going solo, money being the key driver. Roger Taylor in fact released an album in 1981 named “Fun In Space” and “Stranger Frontier” in 1984, before Freddie’s 1985 “Mr Bad Guy” album. However some suggest this was simply to emphasise how Paul Prenter (Allen Leech) manipulated Freddie – again it’s a movie – not a documentary.
However during the LouderSound interview, Brain May said: “My favourite Rami moment is when Freddie is plucking up the courage to tell us he’s going off to do his solo album. It’s a wonderful piece of acting – and a lot of that wasn’t in the script. And when I watch it I feel that is so Freddie. He’d talk quietly, puff on his cigarette, not want to come out with the words. Eventually he did it – in a very cut-and-dry manner. But you can see the angst inside. That scene nearly got cut from the movie – that’s a little secret – just because there’s always this pressure to make things shorter. But we fought for that scene to stay in, because the realism of it is quite gut-wrenching. That was a difficult moment for us. It’s Freddie kinda leaving his family.”
So whilst you will see timeline complains, all you have to do is ignore them. If Brian and Roger didn’t like the way the timeline was or the way the script was written, they would have said given they were both heavily involved. As May says: “There is no such thing as a perfect film and Queen fans will understand when they see it that certain things have been moved around for the story to make sense. You can’t collapse forty years of a person’s life into two and a half hours without cutting out a lot of stuff.”
When asked is there was a temptation to go beyond Live Aid during the film, he said: “No. I think there’s a natural culmination there. And that has pretty much always been the case, from the earliest scripts. We felt that was the pinnacle – despite what some people have said in the press, who know fuck-all about it. Somebody who shall be nameless said: “Oh, they’re going to portray Freddie dying in the middle of the movie, and then the rest of it is gonna be about life without Freddie.” Well, complete bullshit. This is all about Freddie, and I think Live Aid is a good point to leave it. Who knows, there might be a sequel [laughs]. “
Pssstt…if there is a sequel can we have more Jim and Freddie please?
During the interview when asked if Freddie would have liked the film he replied: “I do. I think he would have felt it was a fair cop, really. It shows all his greatness and all his fallibility and insecurity – the whole bit. I think it shows him very truthfully and not sycophantically, but in a way that appreciates his talent. Because he was sure was unique. I’ve never met anybody like Freddie in my life, before or since, and it’s probably not going to happen again.”
Truth is, critics didn’t like Bohemian Rhapsody upon its initial release and now it’s been named as the most streamed song of the 20th century…that is all, darlings.