16 Things You Didn't Know About Bohemian Rhapsody, But Need To

Photo: courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
Freddie Mercury dreamt that one day, someone would make a movie about his life. That day arrived. On November 2, Bohemian Rhapsody landed in theaters.
But did this PG-13 biopic align with the film the Queen frontman envisioned? "I have visions of actually having a film made of my life story, one day, which I would have a key part in," Mercury was quoted as saying in Freddie Mercury: His Life in His Own Words. "I might not play the lead myself. My dears, the things I've done in my lifetime...it'll be totally triple X-rated, I'll tell you!"
So, Bohemian Rhapsody is not exactly "triple X-rated." But for a Queen fan, the Mercury biopic is worthwhile nonetheless. Despite lukewarm critical reviews, the movie is exceeding expectations in the box office. For all you Bohemian Rhapsody super-fans out there (and we know you're out there), these are the nuggets of trivia, from on-set stories to real-life comparisons, you've been yearning for. We can't find you someone to love, but we can give you this.
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Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
1. Film production got seriously heated.

Director Bryan Singer was fired from the project in December 2017. Before then, Singer caused trouble on set due to frequent tardiness, absences — and worse. According to an insider speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, actors were very frustrated with Singer. Tom Hollander, who played Jim Beach, nearly quit. Then, Malek and Singer got into a fight, and Singer reportedly threw a piece of electrical equipment on set. After this altercation, Singer was fired by Fox chairman Stacey Snider on December 1.

"Any discussion about fights between myself and Rami Malek are simply an exaggeration of a few creative differences that were quickly resolved. This is normal on a film set. And I think the work speaks for itself," Singer said in a statement to THR after the article was published.
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2. Freddie Mercury really did love cats that much.

The movie may be about Freddie Mercury, but his cats are the real stars. At one point, Mercury owned 10 cats. When he was on the road, he'd call home and ask to speak to his cats on the phone. “He’d get to a hotel, we’d dial through, and he really would talk to his cats,” wrote Peter Freestone, Mercury's personal assistant, in the book Mister Mercury. “Mary [Austin] would hold Tom and Jerry in turn up to the receiver to listen to Freddie talking. This continued throughout the years with succeeding feline occupants of his houses.”

Mary Austin, Mercury's ex-girlfriend and forever friend, got Mercury started with cats in the early '70s when she bought home a pair. After they broke up in 1980, they continued to raise cats together. A sampling of Mercury's cats' names over the years: Tom, Jerry, Oscar, Tiffany, Delilah, Goliath, Miko, Romeo, and Lily.
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3. Bono makes a subtle appearance in the movie.

Pay attention during the lead-up to the Live Aid show. As Mercury is entering the stage at Wembley Stadium, he runs into a smiling Bono. According to one Redditor, an extra filled the role of Bono. "When the original guy who was meant to play Bono didn’t show, they looked around at who was there and found Rob. Worked out for the best as the producers were stoked that he actually looked more like Bono that the original guy."
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Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock
4. Freddie Mercury almost looked way different in the movie.

Bohemian Rhapsody had a notoriously difficult path to production. The original movie was set to star Sacha Baron Cohen.But in 2013, Cohen exited the project, frustrated that the Queen members involved wanted a reverential portrait of Mercury, not necessarily an accurate one. Soon after Cohen's departure, Ben Whishaw stepped up to fill the vacancy, with Dexter Fletcher signed on as director. However, that movie was never made.

Finally, come 2016, the pair was set. Rami Malek of Mr. Robot would star, and Bryan Singer would direct. After the on-set blow-ups and Singer's dismissal, Fletcher stepped into finish the film. Singer is credited as the film's director, though.
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Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock
5. Queen and Sacha Baron Cohen got in a press feud.

The dramatic production led to a "he said, he said" in the press between Cohen and Queen band members Brian May and Roger Taylor, who also served as producers.

During an appearance on the Howard Stern Show in March 2016, Cohen went into the details of what constituted their creative differences. Cohen was initially attracted to the project because of Mercury's lifestyle. "The guy was wild. He was living an extreme lifestyle [of] debauchery. There are stories of little people with plates of cocaine on their heads walking around a party,” Cohen said.

According to Cohen, Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor were hesitant to depict the debauchery. They were eager for another reason: In the initial version of the script, Freddie dies in the middle of the movie. When Cohen inquired what would happen in the second half of the movie, the undisclosed band member posited, "‘We see how the band carries on from strength to strength.’" According to Cohen, the members envisioned a Queen movie, not a Mercury biopic.

May retaliated in the Daily Mail, calling Cohen an "ass," and saying, "We had some nice times with Sacha kicking around ideas but he went off and told untruths about what happened." Sounds like classic break-up speak to us.

Pictured: Brian May
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6. Rami Malek got the part because of his jawline.

Or at least that's Malek's running theory. “Our producers Graham King and Denis O’Sullivan saw me in Mr. Robot, of all things,” Malek explained on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Malek credited his and Mercury's facial similarity. "I think a lot of it had to do with the jawline, because he does have a very austere jawline!”
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Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
7. The ambitious Live Aid concert scenes were shot first.

The movie culminates in 1985's Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium, but these scenes were shot first. “It’s kind of a crazy thing to start the shoot with one of the hardest and most pivotal moments,” cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel told Indiewire. “But it allowed the cast to come together early and create their chemistry. I remember watching them rehearse three days before the shoot. They didn’t know each other and those four guys really jelled, just like a rock’n’roll band would.”
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8. But in real life, Mercury's AIDs diagnosis came after Live Aid, not before.

The movie has been criticized for its loose adherence to facts. In the movie, Mercury reveals his AIDS diagnosis to his bandmates right before the Live Aid concert in 1985. According to his partner, Jim Hutton, Mercury didn't even know he had AIDS until 1987.
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Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
9. Malek worked with a "movement coach" to get Freddie Mercury's body language right.

When he first got on set, Malek had the option of working with choreographers to plan out his performances. But Malek realized that wasn't the Mercury thing to do. "He was spontaneous in every moment. Every time he got onstage, you never knew what he was going to do. I never wanted the camera to know where I would be, or for the other actors to anticipate my movements," Malek said on The Ellen Show.

To create the effect of a Mercury in the wild, Malek worked with movement coach Polly Bennett. She would give poetic directives like, "Say you have a bubble streaming down your back and giraffe it, and serve me some spaghetti."
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10. The movie's stars Malek and Lucy Boynton are dating IRL.

In the movie, Lucy Boynton plays Mary Austin, a woman whom Freddie Mercury called the "love of his life." They were together for six years and even got engaged. However, they split when Mercury revealed he was bisexual and wanted to date men. In a sweet twist, the stars themselves are a couple.
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11. That's sort of Rami Malek's voice you're hearing on the soundtrack.

When you hear Mercury's voice in the movie, what you're actually hearing is a blend of Malek, a singer named Marc Martel (who sounds just like Mercury), and Mercury himself. "I'm always giving it my all, but it's mixed in there with a whole lot of Freddie Mercury," Malek said on The Ellen Show.
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12. Freddie Mercury wasn't the first Queen band member to go solo.

In the movie, Mercury goes solo with the album "Mr. Bad Guy" a few months before Queen's Live Aid appearance, riling up tension between bandmates. But in actuality, drummer Roger Taylor had made two solo albums before Live Aid.
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13. Malek had big plans for his fake movie teeth.

It was hard to act (and apparently kiss) in the fake teeth Malek used to become Freddie Mercury. After the movie was done, Malek wanted to honor the teeth. "I kept them, and then I said, what would Freddie do? He'd do the most ostentatious thing he could," Malek said on The Ellen Show.

So, he did the natural thing: Had them cast in gold.
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14. In many cases, the costumes are the real thing.

In an interview with Fashionista, costume designer Julian Day revealed the process of creating the "fashion show" that was Bohemian Rhapsody. Some of the movie's garments were tweaked and modernized from the original. For example, Day added lycra in the 20-plus white tank tops that Malek wore as Mercury, so he could move with agility. Others were of the era completely — the cropped white leather jacket that made Mercury look like an "angry lizard" was allegedly found in Jimi Hendrix's flat after he died.

Some of Queen's actual costumes were used. Day said Brain May was "very, very, very particular" about how he was represented in the movie. May was so particular that he had Day raid his closet and dress actor Gwilym Lee in his actual clothes from the '70s and '80s. The movie is full of similar vintage. To dress the 500 to 600 extras at the concert, Day and his team spent four days at the pay-by-the-kilo thrift store in Northern England.
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15. Malek is now buddies with Freddie Mercury's sister.

People who knew Mercury intimately were involved with the movie. Obviously, Queen members produced the movie and were on set frequently. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Malek called Brian May and Roger Taylor his "friends." Malek also revealed he had a chance to speak to Mercury's sister, Kashmira Cooke. “She said she was emotional. I got to sit with her and her son, and I think they were very moved. But we’re just going to keep hanging out, she and I.” Allegedly, Kashmira was shocked by Malek's resemblance to Mercury. Mary Austin, who lives in Mercury's old mansion, was not involved in the movie.

Pictured: Kashmira Cooke
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Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock
16. Ray Foster is a fictional character.

Bohemian Rhapsody is a biopic, but not everything is based on real life — like the producer, Ray Foster (Mike Myers), who pronounces that "no one will play Queen." Foster is possibly inspired by the record producer Roy Featherstone (who had a much cooler name). But Featherstone loved Queen. “I was knocked out,” he said after listening to their first album.

More likely, Foster is inspired by the executives who doubted that any radio station would play the six-minute operatic "Bohemian Rhapsody."

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