8 Things to Know Before Watching Bohemian Rhapsody

2019.01.07
8 Things to Know Before Watching Bohemian Rhapsody
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Lash
by Lash
8 Things to Know Before Watching Bohemian Rhapsody

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Named after Queen’s iconic song, Bohemian Rhapsody tells the rise of Freddie Mercury and his band, Queen. For most of us, the song is one of the greatest hits of all time, but back in 1975 when it first came out, no radio station wanted to play it. This is just one of the stories revealed in the movie. Rami Malek transforms into the moustached, bug-teeth Mercury and looks startlingly like him. For his convincing portrayal of Mercury, Malek won the Best Actor for Motion Picture- Drama at the recent Golden Globe Awards. Now, let's transport into the world of Queen with 8 things you should know.

1. Directing Woes

Shooting the movie was not a smooth sailing process. It was rumoured that director Bryan Singer was often late to the set, and Malek raised concerns about his frequent absence. This incensed Singer, who reportedly threw an object at the actor. This prompted the movie studio to swoop in and replaced Singer with its eventual director- Dexter Fletcher, with just 16 days of shooting left. Fletcher is the director of the Elton John biopic, Rocketman, out next year. However, Singer is still given full directing credit.

2. Freddie Mercury Could Have Been Borat

Before Malek transformed himself into Mercury, Sacha Baron Cohen was the original choice. However, he left the project due to creative differences with Brian May and Roger Taylor, the band’s guitarist and drummer. May felt that Baron Cohen is too much of a comedic actor who would not do justice to Mercury.

3. Getting the Bite Right

One prominent trait of Mercury is his huge overbite, which was the result of having four extra incisors, which then pushed his upper teeth pretty far out. To look the part, Malek got some new “teeth”, which he received months before the production. He was filming the series Mr Robot then, and would wear his false teeth in between takes, so that he gets used to it and won’t speak with a lisp or slur when filming Bohemian Rhapsody.

4. Studying Freddie Mercury

Just having fake teeth alone isn’t going to transform Malek into Mercury, who displays unique behaviour and speaks distinctively. Malek auditioned for the role even before the film received financial backing, and he was committed from the beginning. He spent hours studying fan-shot videos of Queen’s performances to pick up on Mercury’s mannerisms and stage character. He also flew to London to research about the rock star’s life.

5. Looking the Part

While Malek has a strong jawline that resembles Mercury’s, his top half of the face isn’t. His nose isn’t the same shape and his eyes are too big and a tad too far apart. To make him resemble Mercury, makeup, hair and prosthetics designer Jan Sewell did some prosthetic magic, “The prosthetic nose actually pulled Rami’s eyes together, and then I put a lot of makeup in the corners of his eyes, which also helped bring his eyes in.” The whole look takes two hours daily in the makeup chair, which includes putting on a wig and that famous moustache.

6. Getting Straight Into Action

Malek revealed that he was thrown immediately into the thick of things at the start of the production. He didn’t have a chance to ease into Mercury’s role. The first day of production was shooting the famous performance at Live Aid in July 1985. Malek had to face a massive stadium full of people, and do his best Mercury performance. In fact, the Live Aid concert stage is the largest set director Bryan Singer ever had constructed for his films.

7. About That Iconic Song

Queen has given us some really great songs, such as We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions, but none are as riotous and unique as Bohemian Rhapsody, which was voted The Song of the Millennium in 2000, and the Guinness Book of Records' No 1 song of all time. The song is almost six minutes long, and the movie will dive into the creation of this iconic song. Apart from being so long, another quirk is that there’s no chorus in the song. When it was first released, no radio station picked it up, until Capital Radio show put the song on high rotation over the last weekend of October 1975, by DJ Kenny Everett after his interview with Mercury. Record sales picked up immediately the Monday after.

8. Getting the Blessings

Malek’s casting choice was sealed upon approval from Queen band members May and Taylor. To show them he could sing, Malek sent over a video of him singing. However, the band members didn’t have a chance to watch the video due to downloading issues and saw Malek’s singing performance live instead. Because of this, Malek was able to see their reactions to his singing, which worked out well for him, and the production.