Using the music of Queen to trace the band’s meteoric rise and near-implosion in the music industry — an industry that once balked at the idea of a six-minute operatic anthem, as you can see in the trailer — Bohemian Rhapsody looks like a riotous celebration of Mercury’s creative genius. And Malek fully evokes the untamed spirit of the charismatic showman in the film’s recreated concert footage. Not to mention, he looks just like him.
But Malek isn’t the only performance we’ll be talking about come November. (Although, don’t be surprised if Malek’s name comes up in early awards season chatter.) The film completes the Queen line-up with Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor), Gwilym Lee (Brian May), and Joseph Mazzello (John Deacon) — and they all look and sound the part. It’s seriously uncanny.
Of course the film will also explore more turbulent moments in the band’s history, such as Mercury’s personal spiral and his illness. According to the synopsis, Bohemian Rhapsody chronicles Queen from their genesis in 1970 until the band’s iconic set at Live Aid in 1985, six years before Mercury died of complications from AIDS.
It has all the makings of a serious awards contender, but the film’s road to the big screen has been less than smooth. Then again, it wouldn’t be a proper Queen biopic without a bit of on-set chaos.
Sacha Baron Cohen was originally attached to play Mercury way back in 2010, but he left the project citing creative differences with the band in 2013. Then, last year director Bryan Singer was fired from the project midway through production after his repeated absences from set caused serious friction between him and the studio (and reportedly Malek). Dexter Fletcher stepped in to finish the film because, well, the show must go on.
Bohemian Rhapsody finally hits theaters November 2, 2018.