It’s been bubbling under the surface for more than a decade, but now we know: The Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody is “finally happening”, according to a post Friday on the band’s website.
“The film is now ‘as-close-as-that’ to start of shooting,” the band said. “Pre-production begins next week in the UK to prepare for start of principal photography in around London as soon as mid-September.” Brian May and Roger Taylor will executive produce the film, which largely tracks the life of Freddie Mercury. Rami “Mr. Robot” Malek will play the part of the legendary vocalist. “He’s completely living and breathing Freddie already, which is just wonderful to see,” May said in a recent interview.
It’s also been confirmed that director Bryan Singer will be at the helm for the project. “If you’ve ever seen Singer’s X-Men films, or the groundbreaking movie The Usual Suspects, you’ll know this is a director with extraordinary imagination and style,” they wrote. “A perfect choice to recreate the fabulous Queen years which brought us such unforgettable moments as Live Aid, which we can reveal will be faithfully recreated for a key sequence the film.”
In the coming months, we’ll be hearing which actors will play May, Taylor and former bassist John Deacon. There are also hints that Queen fans might get some screen time as extras.
Says May, “We’ve been 12 years on this trail, but I think we’re very close now to an announcement, which will signify that Fox has given the green light to actually supply the money. So yes, I think we’re very close.”
Sacha Baron Cohen was on board at one point to portray Mercury, but he bailed out after disagreeing with the band about how the film would deal with some of the more prurient details of his life. Following Cohen’s departure, Ben Winshaw was considered for the role with Dexter Fletcher directing, but that project also hit the skids about three years ago due to creative differences.
Late last year, Malik and Singer stepped up, with May calling the new screenplay “a really, really great script.”