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Rami Malek says taking Freddie Mercury role in Bohemian Rhapsody was ‘gun-to-head moment’

Rami Malek says taking Freddie Mercury role in Bohemian Rhapsody was ‘gun-to-head moment’

Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek had described accepting the role of Freddie Mercury in the upcoming Queen biopic as a ‘gun-to-the-head’ moment.

The 37-year-old was previously best known for a TV role on Mr Robot. He followed in the footsteps Sacha Baron Cohen and Ben Whishaw, who were previously attached to the role.

‘I must do this’

‘What do you do?’ he told The Guardian of the moment he was offered the part. ‘And I like to think if it’s a fight or flight situation, I’m going to fight.

‘The scariest endeavours that I’ve chosen to take in my life have been the most fulfilling and rewarding. And this has proven to defend that equation.’

He furthermore added that he instinctively felt ‘I must do this’ after the opportunity came up.

Freddie, who was bisexual, died of AIDS-related complications in 1991. With Queen, he sold between 150-300 million records. The band is of course known for hits such as I’ve Got To Break Free and Who Wants To Live Forever.

Their signature song Bohemian Rhapsody became one of the best-selling singles of all time. It sold over six million copies worldwide.

‘What’s the nature of celebrating a life?’

Sceptics have questioned how Freddie’s sexuality will be depicted in the movie. It has a 12A rating in the UK PG-13 rating in the US.

Addressing the subject, Rami said: ‘What’s the nature of celebrating a life? 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 out on 24 October in UK cinemas and 2 November in the US.