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Brian May responds to Bohemian Rhapsody critics: “We weren’t making a documentary”

Queen's Brian May (Image credit: Kevin Mazur - Getty)

Brian May (opens in new tab) has responded to those who have criticised the Queen (opens in new tab) and Freddie Mercury (opens in new tab) biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.

The guitarist was speaking in a new interview with Guitar World (opens in new tab) when he addressed those who weren’t happy with the shuffling of chronological events in the smash hit film.

He said: “We weren’t making a documentary. It wasn’t supposed to be ‘this happened, and then this happened.’ This was an attempt to get inside 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.”

Bohemian Rhapsody (opens in new tab) has been a huge success, bringing in an estimated $1 billion at the global box office, while streams and sales of Queen’s back catalogue have increased dramatically (opens in new tab) in the seven months since the film launched.

I think Freddie would love it, because it’s a good, honest representation of him as a person.

Brian May

In the interview, May said: “I mean, who could have predicted it? 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.”

While Rami Malek’s portrayal of Mercury has drawn praise across the board (opens in new tab), May also points to actor Gwilym Lee who played the guitarist in the movie.

May said: “Gwilym’s a good player, but he wanted to get into how I do stuff and observe me close-up. We sat together with two guitars and played the songs he was going to do in the movie. He absorbed it all very rapidly. 

“What I didn’t realise was that he was also observing all of my mannerisms and the tone of my voice. When my kids saw the first trailer of the film, they said, ‘Dad, did you overdub your voice?’ I said, ‘No, he’s an actor, and he’s absolutely nailed me!’”

Queen + Adam Lambert set off on the North American leg of their Rhapsody tour in July.

Bohemian Rhapsody (opens in new tab)
The biggest music biopic of all time is now available to purchase, and stars Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello and Lucy Boynton.

Scott looks after and updates Louder’s online buyer’s guides and also scouts out the best deals for music fans from every corner of the internet. He's spent more than 28 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014, where he wrote extensively about rock, metal, prog and more, before moving to the eCommerce team full-time in 2020. Scott has previous written for publications including IGN, Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky.