It’s a fact, as unfortunate as it is, that Freddie Mercury died from AIDS in late 1991. It’s also a fact that Rami Malek took him an Academy Award for his portrayal of the late great singer in last year’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
In the conversation of great performances, we also know that many dedicated actors develop a spiritual connection to the roles that they play, especially when it comes to reimagining the life of a real person. It’d be safe to assume that Malek felt this to some extent, given his almost uncanny resemblance to Mercury. But apparently, that connection reached, at some point, beyond the spiritual and into the supernatural.
A recent Express article dug up an appearance with Malek on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, focusing on one strange story the actor decided to tell. The tale, on paper, was about the future Oscar-winner’s first time meeting with Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor. But the bigger picture comes when Malek reveals he felt a sign from Mercury NOT to go forward with the film.
Here’s what he had to say:
“I went to do some pre-recording and it was at Abbey Road – I was a little late, London traffic, whatever,” he said. “I was running across the street and I look back and it’s the iconic crosswalk that the Beatles have the album cover on… and instantly I’m like, ‘what the hell is happening to me right now?’”
“I race up the stairs, the meeting is on the fourth floor. And around the third floor, I’m passing by all these photos of bands that you love, and suddenly I stop – and I’m like, ‘what are you doing, you’re late, you shouldn’t stop right now?’ And I take two steps back and I see this autographed photo of all the members of Queen.”
“Freddie Mercury’s face just kind of staring at me – telling me, ‘don’t do this!’”
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The audience laughed at the spooky encounter, and Malek felt the need to explain some more.
“It was a challenge!” he added. “I kind of looked back, and I said, ‘no… no…’ – it really felt inspiring! But it definitely was that look of, ‘don’t f**k this up.’”
Well, it’s safe to say that Malek didn’t mess anything up at all. In fact, his performance was one of the few redeeming qualities about the picture. Though people were caught off guard by the film’s Oscar win for best editing, not many questioned the one handed over to its young star.
But what are your thoughts, folks? Does Bohemian Rhapsody still rock in the face of Rocketman? Or does Taron Egerton blow Malek and the Queen movie out of the water? Debate in the comments section below.