The long-awaited Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody will hit the silver screens next month but movie star Rami Malek, who had to fill the shoes of the late great Freddie Mercury, is concerned diehard fans might not appreciate his portrayal.
Talking to the New York Times, the young thespian revealed, “It’s not lost on me that this could go terribly wrong, that it could be detrimental to one’s career should this not go the right way. Why would you want to alter anyone’s perception of their hero?”
Obviously, when most people think of Queen, they think of Freddie Mercury strutting his stuff like a mustached maestro, whose larger than life stage persona wooed millions and whose booming baritone and infectious joy were capable of blasting away the bitter defenses of even the most uptight rock critic.
Fairly or unfairly, we tend not to think of John Deacon, Brian May, or Roger Taylor so much when we’re listening to Freddie roar magnificently about the myriad advantages of “bicycle races” and “fat bottomed girls.”
And only in their bleakest moments do Queen fans dare to associate Freddie Mercury stand-ins Paul Rodgers and Adam Lambert with the once-revered name of Queen.
It’s a simple fact of life that lead singers, especially lead singers as fiercely flamboyant as Freddie Mercury, are going to get the lion’s share of the audience’s attention. They are, after all, the public face of the band.
Obviously, a good lead singer needs to warrant that attention by being as elusively charismatic and devilishly impressive as possible, and a lead singer worth their salt and can make or break a band because they’re pretty much the all-singing, all-dancing personification of the group they are fronting.
Freddie Mercury, for example, could manipulate an audience of hundreds of thousands with a click of his fingers, memorize them with some vocal acrobatics, and hypnotize them with a camp flourish.
Mercury is a hard gig to emulate for any geezer but let’s hope Rami Malek can get it right.
The official synopsis of the film Bohemian Rhapsody reads like this.
“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.
“In the process, cementing the legacy of a band that were always more like a family, and who continue to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day.”
The film is named after Queen’s most famous song but interestingly as the Inquisitr reported earlier, according to Mercury’s biographer Lesley-Ann Jones, the playfully obscure lyrics of the song are a confession by Mercury of his sexuality.
“It had never occurred to me, but ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was Freddie’s coming-out song, written in a time when he wasn’t able to be honest and open about his sexuality. It was a very covert statement about who he was as a gay man, which he couldn’t come out directly and say because of the lifestyle he was leading.”
The Daily Mail reports that Mercury’s close friend, Sir Tim Rice, agrees with Ann Jones’s revelation.
“It’s fairly obvious to me this was Freddie’s coming-out song. I’ve spoken to Roger Taylor about it. There is a very clear message in it. This is Freddie admitting that he is gay.
“In the line ‘Mama, I just killed a man’ he’s killed the old Freddie, his former image. ‘Put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger, now he’s dead’ he’s dead, the straight person he was originally. He’s destroyed the man he was trying to be, and now this is him, trying to live with the new Freddie.
‘”I see a little silhouetto of a man’ – that’s him, still being haunted by what he’s done, and what he is.
“Every time I hear the song I think of him trying to shake off one Freddie and embracing another – even all these years. Do I think he managed it? I think he was in the process of managing it rather well.”