The first photo of Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody has been released. After spinning around in development for the last few years with the likes of Sacha Baron Cohen and Ben Wishaw attached to play Mercury, the long-awaited film about one of Britain’s most legendary rock bands finally got the momentum it needed in July when Mr. Robot star Malek signed on to play the famed Queen frontman.
With X-Men filmmaker Bryan Singer at the helm, the film is now quickly falling into place, with the recent casting of Gwilym Lee (The Tourist) as guitarist Brian May, Ben Hardy (X-Men: Apocalypse) as drummer Roger Taylor, and Joe Mazzello (Jurassic Park) as bassist John Deacon.
With Bohemian Rhapsody pegged for a December 25, 2018 release, production is already underway on the film, with Malek already practicing on his singing voice. As far as Mercury’s look, Malek, who distinctly resembles the singer, tells EW he was taken a back by seeing himself as the iconic singer in hair and makeup for the first time.
The first photo of Malek as Mercury has also been revealed by EW, which pictures Mercury as he appeared during Queen’s legendary Live Aid performance in London 1985. The film will reportedly span 15 years in the life of Mercury and his bandmates, from 1970 to the Live Aid concert. Mercury died of complications from AIDS six years later at the age of 45.
Mastering Mercury’s looks and mannerisms will only be part of Malek’s challenge playing the flamboyant singer who had a four-octave range. The actor says part of Bohemian Rhapsody will use his own voice and recordings of Mercury, as well as fill-in soundalikes, noting “We’re going to use Freddie as much as possible and use myself as much as possible.”
Also talking with EW, Singer noted that the film isn’t so much a traditional biopic as it is a film honoring Mercury and Queen’s music. He says:
“It won’t just be the dark Freddie story, but that being said, that also will be honored. It’s about collaboration. It’s a celebration.”
Judging the actor and director’s commitment to the film, as well as Malek’s remarkable first photo of Mercury, fans will no doubt get jazzed about the prospects for Bohemian Rhapsody. One big key, of course, will be the film’s song selection and next, the creative team’s execution of it, whether it be through Malek’s new vocals or Mercury’s original recordings. As for embodying Mercury, the role already appears to be in good hands with Malek.
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