“It goes on forever, six bloody minutes!” whines a record producer, before Freddie Mercury’s character makes this comeback: “I pity your wife if she thinks six minutes is forever.” The six minutes they were referring to was the duration of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, widely regarded as legendary British rock band Queen’s flagship record and, even 43 years after its release, is arguably one of the greatest rock anthems of all time.
This colourful exchange is woven into the foot-tapping trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody, a biopic on Queen and the band’s frontman Freddie Mercury. Rami Malek stars as Mercury, and as the trailer progresses you could be forgiven for thinking that archival footage of the man himself has been interspersed into the movie. Such is the striking resemblance, and with the band’s other popular hits “Another one bites the dust” and “Killer Queen” forming the background score, this teaser sure does crank up the Mercury further this summer.
The film traces the band’s astronomical rise from the 1970s, when a young Indian immigrant called Farrokh Bulsara had well and truly transitioned into his new avatar as Freddie Mercury. The story culminates with Queen’s iconic Live Aid performance in 1985, six years before Mercury’s death due to AIDS. Bohemian Rhapsody promises to be as multi-layered as the song itself, with scenes of delirious fans gasping at the band’s larger-than-life image, and that of Mercury’s hedonistic lifestyle and off-stage implosions that led to Queen eventually disbanding.
The biopic – sanctioned by Queen’s original members – itself was a long time coming, with the role of the lead actor changing hands before Malek finally sealed it. Twenty-seven years after Mercury’s death comes a tribute that at first glance promises to “rock you”.
Bohemian Rhapsody (20th Century Fox, Regency) will be released on October 24 in the UK and November 2 in the US.