Bohemian Rhapsody is the 2018 Freddie Mercury biopic film, which saw lead Rami Malek sing, with his vocals being mixed in order to sound exactly like Mercury’s voice.
In 2018, one of the most anticipated film releases was the Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. The title character in the film was played by Mr. Robot-famed actor, Rami Malek. For the role, Malek not only needed to embody the character, but he also needed to sound like Mercury.
In light of his Academy Award winning performance as Freddie Mercury, the recurring question was if Rami Malek’s real voice was used in the film. The simple answer is yes. However, Malek’s voice was not the only one used.
Reception to Bohemian Rhapsody discussed
The reception to Bohemian Rhapsody was polarised, despite its $1 billion revenue from the box office. This stems from Queen aficionados questioning the sequence of events and how true the film stayed at representing the true-life events of the legendary Queen frontman.
However, while the narrative was called into question, the matter of Rami Malek’s compelling performance is never questioned. Hence, the actor was able to walk away with the Oscar for Best Male Actor in a Leading Role for his performance. The film would also go on to win Best Sound Editing at the Oscars.
Did Rami Malek sing in Bohemian Rhapsody?
Capturing a voice as iconic as Queen’s frontman Freddie Mercury would have been no easy task. More so as the film had access to Queen’s wide catalogue of music. Thus, the film did use some vocal manipulation in order to best achieve the closest sounding voice to the legendary musician.
During the promotional tour for the film in 2018, Malek explained the production behind re-creating Mercury’s voice by stating that it was “an amalgamation of a few voices.”
Therefore, in order to achieve Mercury’s voice, the film used snippets of Malek’s own singing voice, Queen’s master tapes of Freddie Mercury singing and that of Marc Martel.
Martel is a popular rock-indie singer that has received popularity over his covers of Queen’s music, and how eerily his voice resembles that of the late Queen frontman. All these voices were edited together to deliver what is finally heard as Mercury’s singing voice in the film.
How far did Rami Malek go to embody Freddie Mercury?
Playing an iconic character like Queen’s Freddie Mercury is a daunting task for anyone who would take on the role. This is as the character is so beloved by the world, that failing to embody him could result in backlash from avid Queen fans.
Malek ensured that this was not the case with his performance. The actor took the process of embodying the character to heart, as he watched every video of Mercury he could find.
He also worked with a voice coach in order to perfect Mercury’s accent and he enlisted the help of a movement coach to get the moves. But it was the use of prosthetic teeth that completed the characterisation of Mercury as we know.
Inaccuracies: Freddie Mercury going solo
Bohemian Rhapsody’s biggest critique was of the many historical inaccuracies that the story propagated. While there are many, the first and most glaring inaccuracy is Freddie Mercury being the first to want to go solo.
In the film, Mercury’s decision is made to look like a selfish decision made without consideration for the entire band. In truth, before Mercury released his debut solo album, Mr. Bad Guy in 1985, Queen’s drummer, Roger Taylor had already released two solo albums including Fun in Space in 1981 and Stranger Frontier in 1984.
Inaccuracies: Freddie Mercury’s HIV status
A second major point of contention was the manner in which the film used Freddie Mercury’s HIV status as the catalyst for the band’s reformation ahead of the Live Aid performance.
In reality, the Live Aid performance took place in 1985, before Mercury was aware of his status. This is as history suggests that Mercury discovered his status in 1987, which would have been two years after the iconic performance at Live Aid, which the film concluded with.
Bohemian Rhapsody tells the story of Queen, from lead singer Freddie Mercury’s perspective and journey. The film is lauded more for Rami Malek’s compelling performance rather than the liberties taken in terms of the accuracy in the sequence of events.
Due to Malek’s Oscar winning performance, the looming question is whether Malek sung all the songs in the film himself. In truth, he did and he did not. This is as his voice was edited together with Queen master tapes of Mercury singing and the voice of rock-indie musician Marc Martel.