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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 has responded to those who have criticised the Queen and Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.

The guitarist was speaking in a new interview with Guitar World 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 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 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, 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
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.View Deal

Scott Munro

News editor for Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. He’s been at the news desk since 2014 and when not writing, he can be found watching baseball and visiting whisky distilleries.