'Bohemian Rhapsody': 7 of the Film's Stars and Their Real-Life Inspirations

8:00 AM 11/2/2018

by Zoe Jones

Legendary British band Queen moves from the stage to the silver screen in the long-anticipated biopic.

Bohemian Rhapsody tells the story of Queen, one of the world’s best-selling rock bands, while focusing on the life of lead singer Freddie Mercury.

The biopic, slated for release in the U.S. in early November, has been through many iterations since it was first announced in 2010.

Ahead of the film’s Nov. 2 release, here’s a look at more of the castmembers and their real-life inspirations.

  • Freddie Mercury, portrayed by Rami Malek

    Freddie Mercury was the lead singer, pianist and primary songwriter of Queen. After immigrating to England with his family in 1964 at the age of 17, Mercury completed his secondary schooling and worked a series of odd jobs while playing in local bands. Soon after, the singer joined forces with guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, and the band, along with bassist John Deacon, recorded their debut album in 1973.

    Mercury, often hailed as one of the greatest singers and songwriters of all time, penned many of Queen’s most notable hits, including “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Are the Champions” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” The artist also embarked on a solo career, which spawned two albums. He passed away in 1991 at the age of 45, due to complications of AIDS.

    Many actors were in talks to portray the enigmatic Mercury, but the role ultimately went to Rami Malek. The American actor, known for his work on the USA Network series Mr. Robot, is a lifelong Queen fan. “The greatest honor I think from playing someone like Freddie Mercury is getting the acceptance of the legendary bandmates,” Malek said in an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Malek, however, does not sing in the film. Tracks of Mercury’s voice, and singing from an impersonator, are mixed together to create the music of Bohemian Rhapsody.

  • Brian May, portrayed by Gwilym Lee

    Brian May has served as the lead guitarist for Queen since the band’s formation in 1970. The musician and songwriter penned the band’s hit “We Will Rock You” –– which is arguably their most well-known song. Often praised as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, May still continues his work with Queen today.

    May is also an accomplished astrophysicist, and received a Ph.D. in for his work in the field in 2007. He is also co-founder of Asteroid Day, an initiative to increase awareness about asteroids and how to prevent meteorological catastrophes.

    British actor Gwilym Lee portrays the guitarist.

  • Roger Taylor, portrayed by Ben Hardy

    Roger Taylor is the drummer for Queen and was also one of the band’s founding members. In addition to being cited as one of the greatest drummers of all time, Taylor is also known for his powerful, four-octave vocal range. He wrote Queen’s 1985 track “One Vision,” which is thought to have been inspired by their iconic Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium.

    British actor Ben Hardy, known for his role in X-Men: Apocalypse, portrays Taylor.

  • John Deacon, portrayed by Joseph Mazzello

    John Deacon was the bassist for Queen until he retired from music in 1997. He was the primary songwriter of multiple hit singles from the group, including “You’re My Best Friend” and “Another One Bites the Dust.” Often described as the “quiet one,” he was the only group member to not provide backing vocals on any of their songs.

    After Freddie Mercury’s death in 1991, Deacon began to retreat from the music industry. Believing that Mercury could not be replaced, he has not performed in any of the Queen collaborations that Brian May and Roger Taylor have formed over the past couple of decades.

    Deacon is portrayed by American actor Joseph Mazzello.

  • Mary Austin, portrayed by Lucy Boynton

    Mary Austin, played by actress Lucy Boynton, was Freddie Mercury’s longtime friend, partner and companion. After Austin briefly dated Queen guitarist Brian May, she and Mercury hit it off –– and were together through the 1970s. However, Austin became aware of Mercury’s many affairs with men, and the two ended their partnership.

    Mercury is often said to have been gay, despite his long-term relationship with a woman. The 1975 song “Love of My Life” was penned by Mercury about Austin. They remained close friends until Mercury’s death.

  • Paul Prenter, portrayed by Allen Leech

    Paul Prenter is often cited as the person who sold information about Freddie Mercury’s relationships with men, along with other personal information, to U.K. tabloids. He served as Mercury’s personal manager from 1977 until he was fired in 1986.

    British actor Allen Leech, formerly on Downton Abbey, will play Prenter.

  • Jim Hutton, portrayed by Aaron McCusker

    Jim Hutton, an Irish hairstylist, was Freddie Mercury’s boyfriend from 1985 until the end of his life. He cared for the beloved frontman while his health rapidly deteriorated after his AIDS diagnosis. Mercury’s sexuality was never explicitly discussed by the singer in his lifetime, and he and Hutton lived a mostly private life during the course of their relationship.

    Hutton is portrayed by Aaron McCusker, known for his work on the U.K. version of Shameless.