Brian May has defended the QUEEN biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” against critics who have accused the filmmakers of twisting the band’s actual timeline to create convenient drama for the movie.
“We weren’t making a documentary,” May told Guitar World. “It wasn’t supposed to be ‘This happened, and then this happened.’ This was an attempt to get inside [late QUEEN singer] Freddie Mercury and portray his inner life — his drive, his passion, his fears and weaknesses. Also, we wanted to portray his relationship with us as a family, which was pretty much a part of what made him tick. And I think Freddie would love it, because it’s a good, honest representation of him as a person.”
May also expressed his surprise over “Bohemian Rhapsody”‘s incredible success, having raked in more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office and four Academy Awards.
“I mean, who could have predicted it?” May asked rhetorically. “We thought it would do well with the fans, but we didn’t imagine how fully it’s been embraced. People are going to see it five, six times. They’re singing along and crying. I met people in Asia who saw it 30 times. It’s extraordinary. We couldn’t be happier.”
“Bohemian Rhapsody” came out last fall and stars Rami Malek as the iconic QUEEN frontman. Despite poor reviews and a problematic director (original director Bryan Singer was replaced by Dexter Fletcher during shooting), the film came out of the gate a massive hit and has since dethroned “Straight Outta Compton” to become the highest-grossing music biopic of all time.
In the film, Mercury‘s AIDS diagnosis comes earlier than it did it real life; before QUEEN‘s iconic 1985 Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium, when, in reality, Mercury was diagnosed with AIDS in 1987.
Regarding any changes to the timeline of what actually happened in real life, QUEEN drummer Roger Taylor told Mojo magazine: “The important thing is it did happen. We’re not telling lies. The chronology doesn’t really matter.”
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