Bohemian Rhapsody (film)

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Bohemian Rhapsody
Bohemian Rhapsody poster.png
British teaser poster
Directed by Bryan Singer[a]
Produced by
Screenplay by Anthony McCarten
Story by
Music by John Ottman
Cinematography Newton Thomas Sigel
Edited by John Ottman
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • 23 October 2018 (2018-10-23) (The SSE Arena)
  • 24 October 2018 (2018-10-24) (United Kingdom)
  • 2 November 2018 (2018-11-02) (United States)
Running time
134 minutes[3]
  • United Kingdom[4]
  • United States[4]
Language English

Bohemian Rhapsody is an upcoming biographical film about the British rock band Queen, focusing on lead singer Freddie Mercury's life and leading up to Queen's Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium in 1985. The film is an American-British joint venture produced by 20th Century Fox, New Regency, GK Films, and Queen Films, with Fox serving as distributor. Directed by Bryan Singer, it is written by Anthony McCarten, produced by Graham King and former Queen manager Jim Beach, and stars Rami Malek as Mercury, with Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander, Allen Leech, and Mike Myers in supporting roles. Queen band members Brian May and Roger Taylor also served as creative consultants on the film.

Principal photography began in London in September 2017 with Singer as director. In December 2017, Singer was fired for absence and clashing with the cast and crew; Dexter Fletcher was hired to complete the film, although Singer will retain sole director credit as per DGA guidelines. Filming concluded in January 2018. The film is scheduled for release in the United Kingdom on 24 October 2018 and in the United States on 2 November 2018.


The film follows the rise of the band, the period where Mercury attempted a solo career and reinvigoration at Live Aid in 1985. It also documents Mercury's diagnosis with AIDS.





Bohemian Rhapsody was announced in 2010. In a BBC interview published on 17 September 2010, Queen guitarist Brian May spoke about an upcoming film project concerning the history of the band. According to the interview, Sacha Baron Cohen was set to play Freddie Mercury with Graham King as co-producer. King was executive producer of the Muhammad Ali biopic Ali. Peter Morgan, the screenwriter for The Queen and Frost/Nixon, would write the screenplay.[12]

May confirmed in April 2011 that the production was moving forward. He strongly approved of the casting of Baron Cohen, but also had certain reservations about the possible direction the project might take. The band's concerns focused on avoiding any harm to Mercury's legacy.[13] In July 2013, Baron Cohen left the project due to creative differences. Allegedly, he had wished to produce an adult-oriented film, while the band wanted to take a more family-friendly approach.[14] May confirmed later in 2013 that Baron Cohen had left the project on good terms. Comments by May and Roger Taylor suggested that Baron Cohen was too well known as a comedian and prankster (due largely to his fictional personae Ali G and Borat), and that his presence in the film would be distracting.[15]

In March 2016, Baron Cohen spoke about misunderstandings with the surviving members of the band about the intended subject and events of the film, in particular whether the story ought to continue past Mercury's 1991 death. He also mentioned artistic disagreements with the band over the composition of the production team, referring specifically to Morgan, David Fincher, and Tom Hooper.[16]

Following Baron Cohen's departure, in December 2013, Ben Whishaw was mentioned as a possible replacement to play Freddie Mercury. Also at this time, Dexter Fletcher was selected as the film's director.[17] Fletcher removed himself from the project early the following year, amid reports of creative disagreements with King.[18] In August 2014, Whishaw suggested that the film was not progressing well and that there had been scripting problems.[19] Whishaw exited the project seven months later.[20] Rumours followed in 2015 that Baron Cohen had rejoined the project,[20] and also that Whishaw might return.[21]

In November 2015, screenwriter Anthony McCarten had become attached to the project, which now had the working title of Bohemian Rhapsody after the band's song of the same name.[21] Developing a fresh take on the story from his interviews with the band (May and Taylor), he delivered his first draft in February 2016. A year later, director Bryan Singer was in talks to take over the direction of Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek was cast to play Mercury, and the film was being fast-tracked by 20th Century Fox and New Regency.[22] It was reported elsewhere in 2015 that Johnny Flynn was due to play Roger Taylor, and that Gemma Arterton would play Mercury's partner Mary Austin.[23]

In May 2017, Malek confirmed that he had conducted recordings at Abbey Road Studios and had consulted directly with Taylor and May at Taylor's apartment.[24] The same month, Entertainment Weekly reported that Taylor and May were serving as the film's music producers.[24] By August 2017, Justin Haythe was revealed to have penned another draft of the script.[25]


On 4 November 2016, it was announced that Rami Malek would star as Freddie Mercury.[26] On 21 August 2017, additional cast members were announced, including Ben Hardy as drummer Roger Taylor, Gwilym Lee as lead guitarist Brian May, and Joseph Mazzello as bass guitarist John Deacon.[7] On 30 August 2017, it was reported that Allen Leech had been cast in the film to play Mercury's personal manager, Paul Prenter, who worked for him from 1977 to 1986 when he was fired for betraying Mercury by selling his personal information to the UK newspapers.[9]

On 6 September 2017, Lucy Boynton joined the cast of the film to play Mercury's long-term girlfriend, Mary Austin. Lindsey Stirling, Bryce Dallas Howard, Maria Bello and Ashley Johnson were also considered.[6] On 11 September 2017, Mike Myers joined the cast to play EMI executive Ray Foster.[10] On 22 September 2017, Aaron McCusker joined the cast of the film to play Mercury's long-term boyfriend, Jim Hutton.[11] On 26 September 2017, it was announced that Aidan Gillen was cast as John Reid, Queen's second manager, from 1975 to 1978, who took over from Norman Sheffield of Trident Studios and Tom Hollander is set to play Jim Beach, Queen's third manager, who took over from John Reid in 1978.[citation needed]


Pre-production began in July 2017 in the United Kingdom, with principal photography beginning in London in September 2017.[27] An exact replica of the 1985 Live Aid set at Wembley Stadium was created and brought to Bovingdon Airfield near Hemel Hempstead where it was set up for rehearsals on 7 September 2017 with extras on set.[28]

Queen archivist Greg Brooks was instrumental in helping recreate each scene to make it as true to life as possible. He worked daily with Fox for months from the beginning, providing answers to questions.[29]

When Malek was contacted about playing Mercury, he had only a casual knowledge of Queen. To become Mercury, Malek had to work many intense sessions with a movement coach (as well as learn to talk with prosthetic teeth). Malek said, "I had to re-create things he did on the fly, onstage. There were many days I said to myself, 'This is a lost cause.'" After finishing the film, Malek said that he became a "Queen super-fan", saying, "I see Freddie as the best performer of all time... I never ceased to be astonished by this man."[30]

While Malek sang some parts in the film, producers inserted vocal stems from Queen songs as well as filling in parts with Marc Martel, a winner of the Queen Extravaganza Live Tour auditions.[30]

On 1 December 2017, The Hollywood Reporter reported that 20th Century Fox had temporarily halted production due to the "unexpected unavailability" of director Bryan Singer, with sources saying that Singer had failed to return to the set after the Thanksgiving week, leaving producers nervous about the state of production and started discussions about potentially replacing him, at which point cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel had to step in and direct during Singer's non-showings.[31] Singer's absence was reportedly due to "a personal health matter concerning Bryan and his family"[32] however, other sources claimed that star Rami Malek and the crew had grown tired of Singer's behaviour, reportedly showing up late to set and repeatedly clashing with Malek.[33] On 4 December 2017, Singer was fired as director, with about two weeks remaining in principal photography.[34]

On 6 December 2017, Dexter Fletcher was announced as Singer's replacement.[35] On 15 December 2017, the film had resumed filming in and around London after replacing Singer with Fletcher.[36] Fletcher estimated two-thirds of the principal photography had been completed when he joined the production, saying "I came into the last few weeks of principal photography and editing and the bits and pieces like that... I was looking at two complete [acts] in a good film, and [I had to] not let it down."[37]

On 16 January 2018, Brian May uploaded a photo on his Instagram account on the set of the film and said:

Today, under the auspices of our new supreme pilot, Dexter Fletcher, I got my own directorial chair! I was very touched. So! My first day on the set of Bohemian Rhapsody the Movie for more than 6 weeks, and the atmosphere is massively warm and joyful. The entire BR company has been through storms which would have sunk many a ship, but they're all still on board, full of optimism – and with a team spirit stronger than ever. There's such a great feeling of pride in this movie. I wish I could show you pictures ! But for now it's good to protect the surprises. The Bohemian Rhapsody ship is on course !! With full steam up ! Bri.[38]

On 29 January 2018, several cast members posted to social media that filming finished.[citation needed]

Directing credit[edit]

According to the Directors Guild of America, only one director can be named for a film, and the DGA has sole control over who that will be.[37][39] Although Dexter Fletcher replaced Bryan Singer on the set before filming was completed, producer Graham King announced in June 2018 that Singer would receive the directing credit on the finished film.[1][40]


John Ottman, a frequent collaborator of Singer, will compose the film's score. An official soundtrack album, containing several Queen hits and previously unreleased recordings, including the five songs from their 21-minute Live Aid performance in July 1985, which have never before been released in audio form, will be released by Hollywood Records on CD, cassette, and digital formats on 19 October 2018, with a release on vinyl following in February or March 2019.[41][42][43]

Track listing[edit]

1."20th Century Fox Fanfare"Alfred NewmanBrian May
Roger Taylor
2."Somebody to Love"Freddie MercuryQueen4:56
3."Doing All Right" (Revisited)May, Tim StaffellSmile3:17
4."Keep Yourself Alive" (Live at the Rainbow)MayQueen3:56
5."Killer Queen"MercuryQueen2:59
6."Fat Bottomed Girls" (Live in Paris)MayQueen4:38
7."Bohemian Rhapsody"MercuryQueen5:55
8."Now I'm Here" (Live at Hammersmith Odeon)MayQueen4:26
9."Crazy Little Thing Called Love"MercuryQueen2:43
10."Love of My Life" (Live in Rio)MercuryQueen4:29
11."We Will Rock You" (Movie Mix)MayQueen2:09
12."Another One Bites the Dust"John DeaconQueen3:35
13."I Want to Break Free"DeaconQueen3:43
14."Under Pressure"Queen, David BowieQueen & David Bowie4:04
15."Who Wants to Live Forever"MayQueen5:15
16."Bohemian Rhapsody" (Live Aid)MercuryQueen2:28
17."Radio Ga Ga" (Live Aid)TaylorQueen4:06
18."Ay-Oh" (Live Aid)MercuryQueen0:41
19."Hammer to Fall" (Live Aid)MayQueen4:04
20."We Are the Champions" (Live Aid)MercuryQueen3:57
21."Don't Stop Me Now" (Revisited)MercuryQueen3:38
22."The Show Must Go On"QueenQueen4:32
Total length:79:44


Bohemian Rhapsody is scheduled for release in the United States by 20th Century Fox on 2 November 2018 and United Kingdom on 24 October 2018 in IMAX. The film was previously scheduled for release on 25 December 2018.[44]

The teaser trailer for the film was released on 15 May 2018 and with more than 5 million views in the first 24 hours, it was the top trending video on YouTube.[45] Television writer and producer Bryan Fuller argued that the trailer favours Mercury's relationship with women as opposed to his ones with men while also highlighting the absence of the singer's AIDS diagnosis from the synopsis. Instead, it's simply referred to as "a life-threatening illness".[46] Executives have stated that the film will still acknowledge Mercury's gay relationships. With the recent release of the trailer, Queen had 3 of the top 20 positions on Billboard's Hot Rock Songs chart, including "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Another One Bites the Dust" and "We Are the Champions".[47]

On 11 June 2018, at CineEurope, a showing of the film Bohemian Rhapsody closed the show with appearances by Rami Malek, producer Graham King, and special appearances by Brian May and Roger Taylor, who were playing a concert of Queen + Adam Lambert in Barcelona.[48]

The first teaser trailer was released on 14 May 2018 with the full trailer coming a day later showing the band working on their song "Bohemian Rhapsody".[49] A second trailer for the film was released on 17 July 2018 offering a peek at Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury. On 4 September 2018, a new clip from the film appeared showing Ben Hardy as a frustrated Roger Taylor singing many "Galileos" over and over. The clip continues with Malek as Mercury singing live on stage. On 16 October 2018, another clip surfaced depicting the band, led by Gwilym Lee as May, during the conception of "We Will Rock You", both in the studio and in a live performance.

It was announced on 6 September 2018 that the film would receive a PG-13 rating.[50] The world premiere will take place in London at the SSE Arena, Wembley on 23 October 2018.[51]


  1. ^ a b Bryan Singer was replaced by Dexter Fletcher near the end of principal photography, but retained his sole director credit in accordance with Directors Guild of America rules.[1]


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