Once upon a time there was a biopic about Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in the works starring Sacha Baron Cohen in the lead role, but that didn’t work out in the end.
For those wondering if that movie is still happening, it certainly is! Mr. Robot star Rami Malek is now playing Mercury in the movie, which is titled Bohemian Rhapsody. The first image of Malek in full costume was released yesterday, on what would have been Mercury’s 71st birthday, and you can check it out below.
Talking about becoming Mercury, Malek said:
“When you’re able to open your eyes and see a different person staring back at you in the mirror, it’s a very affirming moment.”
The big question with this movie, of course, is what are they going to do about the voice. Mercury’s singing voice is considered to be one of the greatest in history, and one you’re not going to replicate easily. Malek also spoke about this. The plan for Bohemian Rhapsody is to use a mixture of Mercury recordings, Malek’s own voice, and a soundalike (perhaps this guy?) to help fill in where needed:
“We’re going to use Freddie as much as possible and use myself as much as possible. I’m in Abbey Road [Studios] right now if that should say anything to you. I’m not working on my acting.”
The movie is being directed by Bryan Singer, who’s best known for directing multiple X-Men movies and The Usual Suspects. He described the project as “not a traditional biopic,” and added:
“It won’t just be the dark Freddie story, but that being said, that also will be honored. It’s about collaboration. It’s a celebration.”
Bohemian Rhapsody will follow the early days of Queen in 1970 with Mercury, Brian May, and Roger Taylor, through to the band’s performance at Live Aid in 1985—six years before Mercury passed away.
The film is currently scheduled for release on Christmas Day, 2018.