Queen’s Brian May Wasn’t Sure Bohemian Rhapsody Would Ever Get Made

Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury performing at Live Aid in 1985 in the film Bohemian Rhapsody
(Image credit: (20th Century Fox))

The electrifying cinematic chronicle of iconic rock band Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody may come together effortlessly on the silver screen; however, don't let the glitz and glam fool you. The remaining band members of Queen were involved in the project for almost a decade, with so many shake-ups and odds against the project in the beginning that guitarist Brian May had some doubts about it ever seeing the light of day. In his words:

Oh, there were about a thousand moments when we doubted it was going to get made. It was a very bumpy ride, but that's the way life is sometimes. Things are not always straightforward, and perhaps in the end they're better for it. In a way, it mirrors the actual history of the band. We hardly had a smooth path in Queen, but some of those moments of adversity do make you stronger, and it's the same for the film. I wouldn't even hesitate to say I think it's wonderful.

While the film may have been a struggle to get the project together, the theatrical release of Bohemian Rhapsody has been so warmly received by audiences that Brian May should be able to turn back and smile at the long road as the means to success. Bohemian Rhapsody is now the highest-earning music biopic to date, per Box Office Mojo, plus it's nabbed two Golden Globe nominations.

When Queen was first approached about a film about the band's beginnings, the remaining members were reluctant as to how and who would be able to do their frontman Freddie Mercury justice. Sacha Baron Cohen was among the past stars attached to playing the rocker, but he left due to creative differences with the band who wanted to make a film about the family aspect of the band over a tell-all tale about the tumulus life of a rock star surrounded by drugs, sex and rock n' roll.

In his interview with Louder Sound, Brian May said that when Mr. Robot star Rami Malek came along, Queen suddenly had a great feeling about the direction of the project. The actor had a deep passion to bring justice to Freddie, and if you've seen Bohemian Rhapsody there's little debate that he didn't deliver.

Rami Malek received an outpouring of support from the band Queen throughout the process, with Brian May even being vocal about how he deserves an Oscar nomination for embodying his bandmate so believably. It wasn't always clear the movie would get here. There were bumps to getting the project made and more bumps during production on Bohemian Rhapsody as the film shot Live Aid first and original director Bryan Singer had to exit the project midway through and Dexter Fletcher stepped in to keep things running.

Now that it's out, the film continues to dazzle on the big screen and with a chance at award season recognition, Queen can rest easy that the band's story has finally been told the way the group intended.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.