After years of false starts and prolonged delays, the Queen biopic, titled Bohemian Rhapsody – The Film, is finally underway, according to an official announcement at QueenOnline.com. As the film began gaining steam, the project hit two major snags which threatened to derail the project altogether. Back in 2014, the film’s original director Dexter Fletcher quit the project, citing “creative differences” with producer Graham King. The previous year, many fans’ hopes were dashed when Borat actor Sascha Baron Cohen dropped out of the lead role — with Brian May and Roger Taylor claiming that his presence would have been distracting to the story. He was the said to be replaced with Skyfall actor, Ben Whishaw, and then numerous unofficial reports started leaking about script issues, effectively putting the film on ice.
The official message posted on QueenOnline.com reported the first concrete news about the film in years:
Yes folks, it IS finally happening. You’ve been hearing rumours about Bohemian Rhapsody -The Film for some time. So starting right now, here’s what we can confirm at this stage. Award winning director Bryan Singer is the man who will be bringing the Queen and Freddie story alive. If you’ve ever seen Singer’s X-Men films, or the groundbreaking movie The Usual Suspects, you’ll know this is a director with extraordinary imagination and style. A perfect choice to recreate the fabulous Queen years which brought us such unforgettable moments as Live Aid, which we can reveal will be faithfully recreated for a key sequence the film. More on that very soon. Rami Malek has signed up to take on the challenging role of Freddie Mercury. Who could imagine a more perfect fit than this brilliant actor? At this stage you probably know him best for TV’s Mr Robot.
Roger Taylor added: “Rami has great presence and he’s utterly dedicated to the project. He’s completely living and breathing Freddie already, which is wonderful.”
Roger and Brian of course are serving as the film’s executive music producers. After months of speculation, we can confirm that the film is now ‘as-close-as-that’ to start of shooting. Pre-production begins next week in the UK to prepare for start of principal photography in around London as soon as mid-September. You are probably wondering, who will play Roger, Brian and John (Deacon) ??? That, friends, is news for another day.
Close friend Elton John was among the few allowed to visit Freddie Mercury during his final days, and recalled how even until the end showed how much he cared for his friends and family: “He was sick and he was dying. I used to go around and see him — I was one of the few people to be there and I couldn’t stay there for very long; I’d stay there for about an hour at a time, because I found it was so painful and traumatizing. And he was so brave. He was still spending money and buying things at auction right up to the point that he died — which I thought was hilarious, and the kind of thing I probably would do. But at that Christmas, the Christmas shortly after he had died, I got a present delivered to me in a sheet and I collect Henry Scott Tuke paintings and it was a painting by Henry Scott Tuke from Freddie, saying ‘Dear Sharon (laughs) — hope you love this, love Molina.’ It was. . . I just completely broke down. And to think of me as he was so ill, he wanted to give that to me for Christmas and he died about a month beforehand. And it was quite a choker. That was the kind of person he was.”