Rami Malek drew on conversations he had with Brian May and The Kinks’ Ray Davies to inspire his portrayal of the late Freddie Mercury in a new biopic.
Rami is the star of Bohemian Rhapsody, a film which tells the story of Freddie’s time as the frontman of Queen. Freddie’s former bandmates Brian, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon, have produced the flick.
To find out more about the We Are the Champions singer, who died of an AIDS-related illness in 1991, he sat down with Brian at a restaurant in London to pick his brains. The 37-year-old and the Queen guitarist, 71, were joined by Ray, 74, who dined with them and reminisced about his memories of the late rock legend.
The Mr. Robot star told The Guardian they told him that in private, Freddie was very different to his outlandish stage persona.
“He could be alone at home and be quiet and reserved and, as he sometimes referred to himself, quite boring,” the actor said. “And then exist in such a powerful way on stage.”
Revealing how they chatted about a side of Freddie the public rarely got to see, he added: “The one thing that kept coming up was how generous he was. How he could make you feel you were the most important person in the room.”
Bohemian Rhapsody has had a troubled production history, having been in development since 2010, when Sacha Baron Cohen was attached to play Freddie. The film has also been hit by controversy ahead of its release over whether it will include Freddie’s private battle with AIDS.
Rami clarified in his chat with the publication that the feature will depict the sadness of the singer’s later life – but aims to celebrate the rock icon’s achievements.
“What’s the nature of celebrating a life?” he mused. “Definitely not avoiding his death in any way, or what caused his death, which is the AIDS virus. But I think if you don’t celebrate his life, and his struggles, and how complicated he was, and how transformative he was – and wallow instead in the sadness of what he endured and his ultimate death – then that could be a disservice to the profound, vibrant, radiant nature of such an indelible human being.”
Bohemian Rhapsody is released from 24 October (18).