Some eight years after it was first announced, the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody finally made it to the big screen this past weekend, with Mr. Robot star Rami Malek taking on the role of the iconic Queen frontman, and earning rave reviews for his performance.
Long before Malek’s casting, comedian Sacha Baron Cohen spent a couple of years attached to the role of Freddie, only to depart the project over creative differences with the surviving members of Queen. And, speaking to Vulture, filmmaker Stephen Frears – who was attached to direct Cohen – has revealed that they were planning a much more “outrageous” take than what we got from the final film.
“Sacha wanted to make a very outrageous film, which I would imagine Freddie Mercury would have approved of,” said Frears. “Outrageous in terms of his homosexuality and outrageous in terms of endless naked scenes. Sacha loved all of that… You could always tell there would be trouble with the rest of the band. Because Sacha was so outrageous and they weren’t. They were much more conventional.”
Following Cohen’s departure, Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) spent some time attached to the Mercury role prior to Rami Malek’s casting in late 2016 as Bryan Singer came on board to direct.
Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury, who defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. 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.
Bohemian Rhapsody is set for release on November 2nd in the US and features a cast that includes Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor, Gwilym Lee as Brian May, Joseph Mazzello as John Deacon, Lucy Boynton as Mary Austin, Aaron McCusker as Jim Hutton, Aidan Gillen as John Reid, Tom Hollander as Jim Beach, Allen Leech as Paul Prenter and Mike Myers as Ray Foster.