Why Queen Was Really Reluctant To Do Bohemian Rhapsody At First

Queen playing in the studio in Bohemian Rhapsody

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...

We were a little reluctant in the beginning because it's difficult to do a film that would do Freddie justice and what happened over the years---because it was suggested to us a lot---we realized if we didn't get involved then somebody else would do it and you wouldn't be able to protect Freddie's kind of legacy. So, we got involved. It's a long journey, probably 10 years since we've been talking to people, really getting things ready.

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.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.