'Bohemian Rhapsody' unveiled: Rami Malek's Freddie Mercury role could be 'career-defining'
LAS VEGAS — At last, the Freddie Mercury project Bohemian Rhapsody is coming to theaters.
Rami Malek, who portrays the iconic lead singer of the British rock band Queen, rolled out the first view of the film (in theaters Nov. 2) on Thursday at CinemaCon, the national convention of theater owners.
When Malek found out he had earned the role, “I thought, 'Oh, my God, it could be career defining,' " he said. "And two minutes later, I thought, 'This could be a career-killer.' ”
That shows the pressure of portraying a pop culture marvel like Mercury, who died of AIDS at age 45 in 1991.
"You don’t get this right, and it’s trouble. He is, without a doubt in my mind, the greatest performer that has existed," said Malek, star of TV's Mr. Robot.
The Bohemian Rhapsody footage depicted Mercury in 1970, joining the band with Brian May and Roger Taylor (producers of the film) and working their way from small clubs to the heights of the Live Aid performance of 1985.
As the famous Mercury, Malek proves to have a stunning resemblance. But the clip was light on performance footage.
Producer Graham King said the film has been in the works for the better part of 10 years. It was officially announced in 2010, and has worked its way through production delays and even the firing of director Bryan Singer in 2017.
He was replaced by Dexter Fletcher, who finished shooting the film and edited it.
Malek said he received the greatest compliment he could have hoped for on his performance.
“Brian May emailed and was saying how moved to tears he was,” said Malek. “And if Freddie were here today, he would not and could not be prouder. And I will take that to the grave.”
Here are other highlights from the 20th Century Fox presentation, the final preview before the studio's merger with Disney:
Get a closer look at Josh Brolin's Cable and meet the X-Force in the new trailer for "Deadpool 2."
'Deadpool 2' steals the show: Ryan Reynolds wasn't even in attendance at CinemaCon, and yet managed to be a major talking point.
The Fox program began with a line of chorus girls singing and dancing to the song One from A Chorus Line.
The song was dedicated to Reynold's Deadpool, who appeared onscreen, allegedly video-calling in from a party-destroyed room upstairs at Caesars Palace, with a passed-out man visible next to him.
While most stars kiss up to theater owners during these videos and apologize for not being there, Deadpool said he wouldn't be coming to the “self-congratulatory orgy,” even though he’d “love to come onstage and be your show pony.”
Frequent Reynolds’ foil Hugh Jackman appeared in the room brushing his teeth in a bathrobe. The passed-out man turned out to be Fox executive Chris Aronson, who rushed from the room to get to the stage.
Deadpool told the crowd to use the rest of the CinemaCon "to cheat on your spouse on the company dime”
Then he and Jackman exited "to get pancakes or something."
Hugh Jackman says "The Greatest Showman" was developed as if it were a Broadway musical and reveals why they used contemporary music to tell the story of P.T. Barnum. (Dec. 21)
Turns out 'Showman' was great: Fox chairman Stacey Snider paid homage to Jackman’s The Greatest Showman, which was unveiled at last year’s CinemaCon with high hopes, then faltered and was panned by critics when it opened in December.
The musical has "defied the rules of gravity" and stunningly continued in theaters to become “the biggest live-action musical of all time,” said Snyder, earning nearly $430 million worldwide.