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Bohemian Rhapsody, Fiction vs Reality: 13 Times the Movie Lied to Us.

Bohemian Rhapsody, Fiction vs Reality

Bohemian Rhapsody is a biographical-drama film based on Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the English rock band Queen, that covers the narrative of the band from its formation until the Live Aid festival.

The movie was filmed in 2018 with the advice of Queen’s remaining members, Brian May and Roger Taylor, and directed by Brian Singer and produced by Jim Beach, Queen’s program director. At the 91st Academy Awards, The Bohemian Rhapsody won Best Picture, Best Actress (Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury), Best Sound, and Best Sound Mix. However, many, particularly Queen aficionados, were dissatisfied with the film’s plot and, in certain areas, its detachment from reality. In this article, 13 instances are discussed in which the film’s narrative contradicts reality.

Bohemian Rhapsody, Fiction vs Reality
1-Freddie Mercury meets Smile

In the film, Freddie Mercury, who attended Smile’s concert, went behind the scenes at the end of the show and discovered that the band’s vocalist, Tim Staffell, had quit the band. Mercury introduces himself to the band members and proposes that he join the band as a vocalist and Staffell’s replacement. May and Taylor are first hesitant due of Mercury’s shy personality, until he begins to read.

In reality, Mercury was a fellow college student and Staffell’s buddy, and he was picked to replace him. Mercury was well-known among the band members, and he even shared an apartment with Roger Taylor for a while. Freddie Mercury, according to Brian May, was not timid at all; rather, he had strong self-confidence and felt that one day he would become a huge rock star.

Bohemian Rhapsody, Fiction vs Reality
2-John Deacon, Band’s Bassist

In the film, John Deacon is a founding member of Queen and the bassist at their first performance in 1970.

In reality, John Deacon was the fourth bassist to be added to Queen’s first lineup, and he joined the band in 1971.

Bohemian Rhapsody, Fiction vs Reality
3-Mercury and Mary Austin’s personal relationship

In the film, Farrokh Bulsara (who had not yet chosen the name Freddie Mercury) came upon Mary Austin while looking for members behind the scenes of Smile’s concert, and their relationship began.

In reality, Mercury first meets Mary Austin in 1970, while she is working in a clothes boutique. Austin claims that: “It took him six months to ask me out. I avoided him since I suspected he was interested in my close friend.” Brian May subsequently said in a 2017 interview that he had been dating Austin for a time before Mercury asked him, “Is your relationship with Mary serious?” “Can I ask her out?” And here is when the two’s emotional friendship began. 

Bohemian Rhapsody, Fiction vs Reality
4- Separation of Mercury and Mary Austin

In the film, when Mercury and Mary Austin’s personal relationship ends, the two drift apart for a long period until reuniting when Austin becomes engaged to someone else. Their discussion is stiff and formal, indicating the great distance between them at the time.

In reality, After their separation, Mary Austin remained one of Mercury’s closest friends until his death in 1991, and their friendship remained strong.

Bohemian Rhapsody, Fiction vs Reality
5-Jim Hutton, Mercury’s life partner

In the film, Freddie Mercury met Jim Hutton during a house party he had planned. At the party, Hutton was in charge of serving drinks. Mercury mistreated Hutton while under the influence of alcohol and then apologized to him. They spent the night chatting to one other, and their bond grew over time.

In reality, Freddie Mercury met Jim Hutton, an Irish hairdresser, in a London club called Heaven, and after a while, Hutton came to Mercury’s residence and began living with him.

Bohemian Rhapsody, Fiction vs Reality
6-Leaving of John Reid, Queen’s Program Manager

In the film, When Queen was in the midst of releasing A Night at the Opera, he picked John Reid as his program director. Their relationship was seamless until, in an early 1980s scene from the film, Mercury kicks Reid out of the car after Reid advised him to leave the band and work alone.

In reality, John Reid quit the band in 1977, and the breakup was amicable. Jim Beach, who is still the band’s manager, took his position. “He was really fiery and enthusiastic, much like us,” Roger Taylor said regarding John Reid later

Bohemian Rhapsody, Fiction vs Reality
7- We Will Rock You

In the film, Brian May teaches the band how to play “We Will Rock You” in the studio. Three of the group’s members are girls who assist them in performing the song. Mercury is introduced to them in the middle of a personal practice while he has a mustache!

In reality, the original rehearsal for the song took place not in the studio, but in an abandoned chapel where the band members rehearsed. Except for the members of the band, no one else was present during the rehearsal. Mercury also didn’t have a mustache till the early 1980s!

Bohemian Rhapsody, Fiction vs Reality
8- Ray Foster, the one who did not agree with the release of the Bohemian Rhapsody song

In the film, this role is performed by Mike Myers, a well-known Saturday Night Live host.

In reality, contrary to what is depicted in the film, such a character does not exist, according to articles and books written about the group! However, others credit him to Roy Featherstone, EMI’s talent scout.

Bohemian Rhapsody, Fiction vs Reality
9-Band disbanded due to Freddie Mercury’s departure

In the film, we see a moment in which Mercury gathers the members of the group and informs them that he wishes to embark on a solo career. This scene is filled with tension and irritation, and it appears that Freddie Mercury is the reason for the band’s disbandment.

In reality, Queen never dissolved until Mercury’s death. Before Mercury indicated to the band that he was going to concentrate on a solo record, Roger Taylor had released two albums and John Dicken had released a single. This signifies that the Queen group had no issues with the members’ individual work. On Freddie Mercury’s solo album, released in 1985, Brian May helped him by performing in some tracks.

Bohemian Rhapsody, Fiction vs Reality
10-Freddy Mercury’s illness

In the film, Mercury learns about his illness and discusses it with the band members one day before the live concert.

In reality, Unlike in the film, Mercury got AIDS and became aware of his sickness during the tour of A Kind of Magic in 1986, approximately a year after the Live Aid concert, and the band members were unaware of his condition until two years later, following the diagnosis.

Bohemian Rhapsody, Fiction vs Reality
11- Paul Prenter, Freddie Mercury Assistant

In the film, the antagonist, Paul Prenter, attempted to alienate Mercury from his band members, first as John Reid’s assistant and later as Mercury’s solo manager. Mercury fired him before Live Aid and because Prenter did not notify him about the invitation to the concert during a phone call. After being fired, Prenter exposed Mercury’s personal life on a television show.

In reality, Paul Prenter was fired for throwing a massive party and wrecking Mercury’s house. Of course, this happened after the Live Aid concert, and Prenter was still Mercury’s manager at the time. His interview was not aired after he was fired, but it was published in a newspaper as an article.

Bohemian Rhapsody, Fiction vs Reality
12- The Live Aid concert

In the film: The band members are not in good terms with each other and get an offer to appear on the 1985 concert list while haven’t perform together for a long time. Because Freddie Mercury did not return their phone call, they will be added to the participating bands at the last minute.

In reality, Queen released The Works album in early 1984, and their last tour began eight weeks before Live Aid. The reason for their late inclusion on the Live Aid lineup was neither bad blood among the band members or Mercury’s refusal to answer the phone. Rather, the concert promoter, Bob Goldoff, first thought Queen was unsuitable for the event. But that wasn’t the end of it. After being invited to the occasion, Queen first declined to attend. They were concerned that because their performance was scheduled during the daylight, it would be of poor quality.

Bohemian Rhapsody, Fiction vs Reality
13- Mary Austin and Jim Hutton are behind the scenes of Live Aid

In the movie: Austin and Hutton are together behind the scenes during Queen’s performance in Live Aid. They are quite friendly to one other and are going to hug in a scene!

In reality, There is no indication that Mary and Jim were behind the scenes, and the two have never had a cordial or friendly relationship. According to Freddie Mercury’s will, Austin became the owner of his house after his death. Despite Mercury’s clear request that Hutton be allowed to stay in the house for as long as he wished, Austin granted him three months to leave. Hutton used the money Freddie left him to buy a property in west London and build a house in Ireland.

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