Rami Malek feared Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody could have been 'a career-killer'

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, with Gwilym Lee as Brian May (Credit: Fox)

Rami Malek has said that he thought twice about taking on the role of Freddie Mercury in Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, because he was afraid it could make or break his career.

The Mr Robot star was speaking at the CinemaCon event in Las Vegas, where snippets of footage were premiered yesterday.

“I thought, ‘Oh, my God, it could be career defining,’” he told the audience (via USA Today). “And two minutes later, I thought, ‘This could be a career-killer.’”

“You don’t get this right, and it’s trouble. He is, without a doubt in my mind, the greatest performer that has existed.”

Whether he got it right or not, the movie has had its fair share of trouble already.

The idea was first developed in 2010, with Sacha Baron Cohen playing Freddie, with a script by Frost/Nixon scribe Peter Morgan.

(Credit: Fox)

Baron Cohen then revealed that he’d fallen out with the band over the planned direction of the movie, which he wanted to make in warts-and-all style.

He claimed in an interview with Howard Stern that Brian May had wanted the movie not to end with the the death of Mercury in 1991, but then go on to follow the band as it continued.

Ben Whishaw was later cast in the lead, with Dexter Fletcher set to direct, but Fletcher later pulled out over creative differences, Whishaw soon following.

X-Men director Bryan Singer then took over, and Malek joined as Mercury, with filming beginning in July 2017.

However, more drama followed, with reports of ‘on-set chaos‘, and Singer often absent.

Rami Malek at CinemaCon (Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Tom Hollander, who plays Queen’s manager Jim Beach, was said to have quit at one stage over Singer’s behaviour, while it’s said that Malek also complained to the studio about his ‘unreliability and unprofessionalism’.

Fox then announced that production would be suspended, while Singer claimed that the studio would not allow him to leave the set to tend to ‘a gravely ill parent’.

He was later dismissed, and Fletcher took over once again, and now things appear to be back on track.

Malek added: “Brian May emailed and was saying how moved to tears he was. And if Freddie were here today, he would not and could not be prouder. And I will take that to the grave.”

The movie is set for release in November.

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