Is this the real Freddy Mercury?

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This coming October marks the release of biographical film ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ depicting the life and times of legendary Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury. From the band’s humble and uncertain beginnings playing London’s college circuit in the early 70’s whilst desperately trying to secure a record deal, to the superstardom of Freddie’s final show with Queen, performing for well over one hundred thousand fans at Knebworth Park in 1986, the film aims to epitomise Queen’s illustrious career and the life of Mercury.  

Ironically the road to releasing Bohemian Rhapsody the movie was perhaps even more rocky than Queen’s formative years with first choice for Mercury (Sacha Baron Cohen) and both the first and second directors (Bryan singer and Dexter Fletcher respectively), leaving the project during its production. Sources seem to suggest that disagreement was rife amongst those involved in the creation of the movie and when the film is released towards the end of October 2018, it will have been a full eight years since it was originally announced.

 

Queen are a controversial band and forever the topic of debate as only the greatest artists are and Freddie in particular faced scrutiny and even prejudice at various points in his life for everything but his musical talent. It has been suggested by multiple online sources including Rolling Stone that the British press often took issue with Mercury’s wild lifestyle and theatrical onstage mannerisms. A man whose stage name is an allusion to the intelligent and cunning Roman God Mercury and who refers to himself in one of the few recorded interviews in which he participated as a “musical prostitute”, is perhaps expected to receive media attention. Especially when his band are taking the world by storm.

Freddie was in many ways a living embodiment of what London culture was like in the late 70’s. It was a time of idealism and escapism; extravagance and rebellion. Though the extreme fashions of the time might seem cringe worthy in hindsight, the styles and music of London bred, glam rock inspired superstars like David Bowie and Freddie Mercury changed British culture forever. At the London 2012 Olympic Games footage of Freddie warmed up the crowd before the remaining members of Queen treated the audience to a performance of ‘We Will Rock You’ led by London born pop star Jessie J, who entered wearing a gown inspired by Freddie’s signature yellow jacket.

Hopefully this October ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ will treat the nation to an entertaining and informative glimpse of the life and career of the renowned and influential singer. Whether or not its depictions are accurate remains to be seen, yet you can bet your last pound that thousands of Brits will be dressed in yellow jackets fighting in line to hear Queen’s plethora of anthems on their cinema’s sound system.

CinemaAlex Wilson