BRIAN MAY says QUEEN is 'looking at ideas' for possible 'Bohemian Rhapsody' biopic sequel
QUEEN guitarist Brian May has once again opened the door to the possibility of a sequel to the band’s biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
Released in November 2018, “Bohemian Rhapsody” has become the highest-grossing musical biopic of all time, bringing in more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office. It was also No. 1 biggest-selling film of 2019 on home release.
Speaking on Instagram Live about a possible sequel, May said: “We are looking at it. Yeah, we have been looking at ideas.”
He added: “It’s going to be hard to follow that one as none of us could have predicted how massive that was going to be. We put a lot of heart and soul into making it and no one could have predicted [its success] as it was bigger than ‘Gone With The Wind’. But yes, we are thinking maybe it could happen, but it would have to be a great script. It’s going to take a while to figure that out.”
In July 2020, QUEEN drummer Roger Taylor said that a “Bohemian Rhapsody” sequel was unlikely. “I really do think that we need to sit back for a year or two and look at things and see if that is a believable or credible thing to do,” he told Rolling Stone. “The movie was a great hit. We were delighted, obviously. But I think I wouldn’t want to be seen as cashing in again. I’d have to have a very, very good script and scenario to make that work. Right now, I can’t think of a way of doing a sequel.”
He continued: “If somebody comes up with a genius plan, maybe we’ll think about it. [Laughs] Right now, we’re just very happy with what the movie did. There are so many sequels that don’t match up to the original one. There are obvious ones that did, but on the whole, I think it’s a dangerous territory.”
Roger went on to say that he was surprised by the success of the movie.
“It was extraordinary,” he said. “There was the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs and then the Oscars! We thought, ‘Hey, we’ll take it!’ It was a great ride, but it wasn’t our world. Our world is the rock and roll world. It was fascinating and very interesting to be involved. When the movie got four Oscars, it took a while for that to sink in. Mind you, they didn’t give Brian [May, guitar] and me any. That’s okay, though.”
In early 2020, May also ruled out a follow-up film, telling Rolling Stone: “Don’t think we didn’t think about it. We’ve talked. Basically, we think not, at the moment. Things could change, I suppose, but I think it would be difficult.”
According to May, part of the challenge in making another movie is that it would likely focus on singer Freddie Mercury‘s battle with AIDS, with which he was diagnosed in 1987. Mercury battled the disease in private, telling only a select few close friends in the years which followed. He died in November 1991.
“I don’t think that would be an uplifting thing to do,” May told Rolling Stone. “I’m not saying it’s impossible because there is a great story there, but we don’t feel that’s the story we want to tell at the moment.”
QUEEN‘s six-song performance at Live Aid serves as the triumphant finale for “Bohemian Rhapsody”, starring Rami Malek as Mercury. But the movie left out a ton of the actual Mercury story, as May acknowledged during his Rolling Stone interview.
“There’s a million things in our career which you couldn’t show in a movie since the movie had to be so simplified to make it watchable,” the guitarist said. “But we don’t really think there’s another movie there. That’s the long and the short of it. I think we should look somewhere else. There are other ideas that we had, but I don’t think a sequel will happen. But we have looked at it pretty seriously.”
Despite poor reviews and a problematic director (original director Bryan Singer was replaced by Dexter Fletcher during shooting), “Bohemian Rhapsody” came out of the gate a massive hit and has since dethroned “Straight Outta Compton” to become the highest-grossing music biopic of all time.
In the film, Mercury‘s AIDS diagnosis comes earlier than it did it real life; before the Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium, when, in reality, Mercury was diagnosed with AIDS in 1987.
Regarding any changes to the timeline of what actually happened in real life, Taylor told Mojo magazine: “The important thing is it did happen. We’re not telling lies. The chronology doesn’t really matter.”