Bohemian Rhapsody, the biopic that follows music icon Freddie Mercury before his untimely death and the growth of British rock band Queen, is already over two hours long. Despite this, fans of Queen have expressed their disappointment in the fact that the film creators chose to leave out large portions of Mercury’s life. Rami Malek, the star who portrays Mercury in the film, has finally spoken out against the critics.
Malek told the Hollywood Reporter that the film creators’ decision to focus on the development of Mercury’s career, rather than his personal life and relationships leading up to his death, was a result of time constraints.
“They would love to deliver the entire Freddie Mercury story, but we have two hours. And in those two hours, I know that those men want to celebrate Freddie’s life, and there was definitely a cognizant effort not to make this a hedonistic, salacious film,” he said.
The filmmakers and cast knew from the beginning that they wanted to bookend the film with Queen’s performance at the Live Aid concert, so they needed to focus on the moments that would make the most sense leading up to that point in Mercury’s life.
Malek went on to say that he personally would have loved to include more on Mercury’s relationship with Jim Hutton, but there just wasn’t time.
While the film did focus on Mercury’s personal and professional relationship with Paul Prenter (portrayed by Allen Leech), Mercury’s manager, it primarily showed how the relationship itself affected Mercury’s career and journey with Queen.
“It’s never going to be perfect in fulfilling the story of a man who we could make countless documentaries about and countless miniseries about,” Malek admitted.
Malek, who took on an impromptu position of leadership when director Bryan Singer left for unconfirmed reasons, according to Independent, said that the film needed to show Mercury’s defiance as an artist. The 37-year-old actor called Mercury “revolutionary.”
“He [and the band] brought down every convention of what music should be and how human beings should act in public,” he went on to say.
Although the film received mixed reviews for its scene selection, most reviews agreed that Malek portrayed Mercury beautifully. Queen’s guitarist, Bryan May, said that the star should be nominated for an Oscar, Metro reported.
Malek is already set to receive the Breakthrough Performance Award at the Film Fest Gala during the 30th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival for his role in Bohemian Rhapsody. The gala will be held on January 3, followed by the festival, which will run until January 14.