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The finale of the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody is an epic thing to watch, but it turns out it was a fairly epic thing to film as well. The movie ends with Queen performing as part of 1985's Live Aid and the band's set is performed almost in its entirety. Whatever you think of the movie as a whole, the finale is quite an amazing thing to experience, and that was also the case on set, as Rami Malek says that he asked that the sequence be filmed in a single take. According to Malek...
The entire concert in wide masters. We brought in three cranes with cameras and ran the entire 22-minute set, it was the best take we ever did. You're running on pure adrenaline. My heart is pounding just thinking about it [the experience]. You realize how much adrenaline was coursing through his veins before 75,000 people. Really, I love acting...To add into this rock star feeling, it was like being on drugs.
Everything about Bohemian Rhapsody builds to the Live Aid sequence. The basic arc of the film is a fairly familiar story about a talented person who achieves superstardom, then goes into a tailspin before finding his way out again. The Live Aid performance is the scene where we see that Freddie Mercury is truly back and has recaptured that special something that made him a star in the first place.
In reality, many consider the Live Aid show to be one of Queen's greatest performances, making it the perfect place to work as the "comeback" moment of the film.
According to Deadline, Rami Malek, and the rest of the cast and crew, were concerned about the movie's ending. Everybody knew that it was important to get it just right, and Malek felt that all the starting and stopping of multiple takes and different angles would keep the performers from being able to get into the rhythm of performing. This led to him asking producer Graham King to do the final day of shooting as a single take 22-minute long performance.
It's unclear how much of this single take version of the performance was used in the film itself. If it was only shot in wide masters then all of the close-ups must have part of different takes. Still, if the goal was to make the actors feel like they were really Queen up on stage so that they could convey that feeling to the audience, it has to be said that it all worked. The energy is certainly in the film and Rami Malek's description makes it clear it had the desired effect on set. While I thought Bohemian Rhapsody was, overall, a somewhat lightweight film, I certainly left the theater on a high after watching that ending.
many people have had a chance to experience that amazing ending as Bohemian Rhapsody has been doing quite well at the box office. It broke the $500 million mark over the weekend. It's a top 20 movie for the year both domestically and internationally.
If you haven't seen the Live Aid performance in the film, you still can, Bohemian Rhapsody is still in theaters.