Iconic would be too small of a word to describe the greatest pop-rock band of the ’70s, Queen. A quartet of talented Brits that changed the world with their complex harmonies, elaborate instrumentals and opera-like vocals with timeless anthems like We Will Rock You, Somebody to Love and We Are The Champions. While all exceptionally gifted, the band is commonly recognized for their theatrical lead singer and music legend, Freddie Mercury.
Bohemian Rhapsody, a biopic that’s been in the works since 2010, according to The Guardian, finally released its first complete trailer. The clip features dim-lit scenes, encapsulating the aesthetic of the original music video for the classic 6-minute song, and stars Rami Malek who plays the exuberant late singer.
Though Malek clearly bears a remarkable resemblance to Mercury, the actor originally hired was Sacha Baron Cohen, who left the project in 2013 claiming “creative differences” with Queen’s surviving members, explains Rolling Stone. They later stated that Cohen was set on portraying the risqué history behind the rock sensation’s career, highlighting drug abuse and alcoholism, while they wanted to maintain the integrity of their legacy.
The film will uncover their lives beginning with the band’s emergence in 1970 to their famous 1985 performance at Live Aid, and Mercury’s untimely death in 1991, says Esquire. The trailer includes quick flashes depicting the recreation of the show and other concerts that were pivotal to their career. Mercury was known for his dramatic and dynamic costumes and dancing while on stage, which Malek channelled in the 90-second sneak peek.
Much controversy still surrounds the demise of Mercury due to its direct correlation with his secret bisexuality, often slandered by the press. A topic plagued with taboo, the AIDS epidemic became a forced discussion that surfaced in the 1980s after many celebrities and prominent people were publicly diagnosed and died. He kept news of his illness hidden from fans until just 24 hours before his death, when he released a statement explaining his situation and later passed away at his home in London at the age of 45, recounts The Guardian. His death raised awareness globally and opened up conversations about sexual orientation, which allowed many LBGT people to find a place and an idol to look to.
In 2016, Malek appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, speaking about the upcoming movie and tried on a fake mustache, gifted by the host, to give fans a brief preview of his performance. Kimmel asked him if he’d been preparing for the role, to which he responded with an unwavering yes. “He’s one of the most iconic, characters, musicians, anybody in human history,” he gushed.
Many bands and solo artists have since been inspired by the group and continue to make music that reflects their unique style. From fashion, art and pop culture, their impact has surpassed its time and has changed lives. Surely, Queen’s influence will be further recognized and celebrated through the release of the film and the publicity will bring their music back to the forefront of pop culture for younger generations to enjoy.