It was a long road to the screen for Bohemian Rhapsody, but the movie almost didn’t get made at all. The idea of doing a biopic about Freddie Mercury and Queen had apparently been suggested to the surviving band members before, but they had previously rejected the idea since it would be so difficult to turn Mercury’s story into the right sort of movie. However, eventually they apparently all realized that if they didn’t do it, somebody else would. According to Queen member Brian May…
The musician biopic is such a popular genre that it’s even received its own spoof. Brian May is almost certainly right that, eventually, somebody was going to come along and make the movie about Freddie Mercury and Queen with or without them The music is too iconic and Freddie Mercury was just too big a character to not want to make a movie about his life.
The members of Queen apparently felt that if it was going to happen, they were in the best position to make sure the story was told right. Brian May tells Flicks and the City they wanted to be able to protect Mercury’s legacy. One assumes they also wanted to protect their own legacy as well, as any movie about him can’t be told without the rest of Queen being major players in the story.
At the same time, the fact that it took the better part of a decade to find the right people shows that nobody went into this project too fast or didn’t think things through. Multiple actors were attached to play Freddie Mercury over the years, whether the actor changes caused the delays, or the delays caused the changes, it shows there was clearly a larger vision that wasn’t going to move forward just for the sake of getting the movie made.
And in the end, it appears to have paid off. Bohemian Rhapsody is a global hit, having brought in over a half billion dollars at the box office. It’s without question a fun movie.
Whether or not it protects Freddie Mercury‘s legacy is a different question. The movie certainly doesn’t sugar coat his life, nor should it, though the film also makes some significant changes to the actual timeline of Mercury’s life, so one wonders just how true to the man it actually is.
Bohemian Rhapsody is in theaters now.