Bohemian Rhapsody's Rami Malek says he felt he had to take on the role of Freddie Mercury
It’s been a rocky road to the screen for Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.
After years in development hell, during which time Sacha Baron Cohen was cast as Mercury before leaving over creative differences with Brian May, the project finally began filming last year with X-Men‘s Bryan Singer directing and Mr Robot‘s Rami Malek in the lead role.
Then, near the end of filming, Singer was fired after failing to return to set on time from a Thanksgiving break, and Dexter Fletcher (Rocketman) saw out the last few weeks of filming (Singer will keep the sole director’s credit on the final film).
On top of all that, early reactions ahead of the film’s release have been mixed – although the consensus on Malek’s performance is largely rapturous.
This doesn’t seem surprising given Malek’s commitment to the role, something he recently discussed in an interview with The Guardian.
His response to being offered the chance to play one of rock’s greatest frontmen? “I must do this.
“[It’s] kind of a gun-to-the-head moment. What do you do? And I like to think if it’s a fight or flight situation, I’m going to fight.
“The scariest endeavours that I’ve chosen to take in my life have been the most fulfilling and rewarding. And this has proven to defend that equation.”
Malek went on to talk about a dinner he had with Queen guitarist Brian May (also a co-producer on the film) and Kinks singer Ray Davies, and the stories the two traded about Mercury.
“The one thing that kept coming up was how generous he was,” he said. “How he could make you feel you were the most important person in the room.”
Malek’s rising star has come at the cost of his breakout show Mr Robot with the USA network confirming that its fourth season will be its last.
However, series creator Sam Esmail is collaborating with Malek on the big screen on spy thriller American Radical.
Esmail said: “Since day one, I’ve been building toward one conclusion — and in breaking the next season of Mr Robot, I have decided that conclusion is finally here.”
Bohemian Rhapsody is out on October 24 in the UK and November 2 in the US. Book tickets here.
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