Exclusive: BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY Story Details
Is there a more iconic song than Bohemian Rhapsody? I think most people know it by heart. (And so did 65 000 Green Day fans recently!) You either know it because you’re a fan of Queen or because of Wayne’s World. I’ve always been fascinated by Queen and Freddie Mercury. There was no bigger rock star in the late 70’s and early 80 than him. He died way too young, and he would have entertained millions probably until today. His story deserves to be told on the big screen.
One of my favorite writer of the moment, Anthony McCarten (Theory of Everything/Darkest Hour) penned the script for Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s been reported that Bryan Singer (The Usuals Suspects/X-Men franchise) will helm the film with Radi Malek (Mr. Robot) playing Freddie Mercury. The movie is scheduled to be released Christmas Day 2018.
Bohemian Rhapsody begins with the death of Freddie Mercury. The rock music icon has succumbed to his battle with AIDS. His Queen bandmates Roger Taylor and Brian May walk out on TV after being asked inappropriate questions by an interviewer concerning his passing. We cut to present day; a blogger arrives to interview Brian May. Reluctantly he begins to tell the story of how he met Farrokh (Freddie) Bulsara (Rami Malek) for the first time in a bathroom of an Art school.
An instant friendship is born, and he becomes the lead singer of their band. He introduces Farrokh to his friend Mary Austin, and they begin dating. She quickly becomes his muse, and he starts for the first-time writing music. At a celebration for his birthday at his parent’s place, he renounces his Zanzibar roots and dubs himself Freddie Mercury! From that point on, the band gets a record deal, starts touring the world and become music legends. Through this fantastic adventure, we witness the rise and fall of a “lost” Freddie who’s searching for himself through his music.
I’m calling it right now; this is the first contender for next year’s Oscars race. It’s probably one of the best screenplays I’ve read in the past five years. I have always loved Queen and their music, but the script took all of that to another level. The story feels almost like a real-life version of Almost Famous. A charismatic singer whose ego is out of control and clashes with the rest of his band.
Rami Malek will KILL in that role. I’ve been a fan of his since The Pacific, and he truly was a revelation in Mr. Robot. Sasha Baron Cohen truly missed the boat because he was born to play that part. It’s a shame, but Rami will give us the definitive Freddie Mercury. There are two sides of the rock superstar, the shy boy who’s still self-conscious about his crooked teeth and the over-the-top stage diva. I’m sure Rami will have no problems navigating between the two personalities.
Bryan Singer has in his possession his best screenplay since The Usual Suspects. He can’t miss with this film. The story moves fast and doesn’t waste any precious time with useless anecdotes. While it never gets boring or clichés. The music is also a powerful element of this story. The classic Queen songs are sprinkled at just the perfect moments. They are used to strengthen dramatic moments, and it seems to work every time. Kudos to Anthony McCarten, because this is a screenwriting achievement.
Screenwriting Tip: Tell your story differently. Having Brian May as your narrator is an interesting storytelling device. He was a prime spectator to the birth, rise, and fall of Freddie Mercury. We want to know the story from his point of view. How did he feel about his friend? What made him care about him? What destroyed and eventually restored their friendship? Answering those questions is far more interesting than a normal A to Z biopic.
The studio knows exactly what kind of film Bohemian Rhapsody is. This is a surefire critical and box-office hit. Is this real life? Is this fantasy? Nope, it’s an Oscar nomination for Rami Malek.
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