Author Topic: How Rami Malek survived the "very difficult" 'Bohemian Rhapsody' shoot  (Read 1100 times)

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How Rami Malek survived the "very difficult" 'Bohemian Rhapsody' shoot
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Rami Malek needed singing lessons, dance tuition and a dialect coach to transform himself into Freddie Mercury for Bohemian Rhapsody. He tells Screen about the challenging shoot.

Rami Malek’s usual method for creating a character is to start from the inside out. But when it came to playing Freddie Mercury in 20th Century Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Malek worked first on the legendary Queen frontman’s flamboyant physicality before delving into the psychological.

“I watched all the archive footage you could ever find,” recalls the Mr Robot star, who has scored a Golden Globe nomination for his extraordinary performance, “and I keep searching for more because I’m even more of a fan than I’ve ever been. I really did look at him as a rock god, an icon for all of us. He did anything he wanted to do on stage. Just to capture that aspect of him was going to be a challenge. And I thought the only way to do it would be to have time. If I had enough time, I was giving myself a fighting chance.”

So long before the film was even greenlit, Malek embarked on an intense period of research and preparation, informing Los Angeles-based producer Graham King of GK Films: “‘I’m flying to London. I’m going to try and find some singing classes and some piano classes; I’ve never done any of those in my life. I need your help. I need a choreographer. I need a dialect coach.’ [Freddie] had a very specific way of speaking. He had a very specific way of doing anything.”

Malek was particularly keen to work with a movement coach. “I’m not a dancer and I knew I needed to be spontaneous. I looked at what Eddie Redmayne did in The Theory Of Everything and tried to find his.”

Alas Alexandra Reynolds was busy, but “someone led me to Polly Bennett and within a day we were working on ballet moves,” continues Malek. “[Freddie] was very elegant in his footwork and he got a lot of that from Bob Fosse and Liza Minnelli, so we watched Cabaret quite a bit. At one point Polly [had] me do ‘Killer Queen’ as a Shakespearean soliloquy as performed by Marie Antoinette. Essentially, she was getting me to be as spontaneously Freddie as possible. To not mimic him in any way, or try to do an impersonation, so that I, in any moment, whether it be a straight scene or a concert, felt as though he was existing in my body, and it was all grounded in my physicality and my performance.”

Together, they looked into Mercury’s family and upbringing to discover what made him the man he was. “Almost from the very beginning we started to look at his mother, how her facial structure moved, how his sister moved, how they spoke. Then we started to look at his early work. Sometimes we’d watch him in an interview in the ’70s, then an interview in the ’80s and see how his physicality matured and evolved. [Polly] calls it heritage movement. Everything stems from your youth. The punches he throws in Live Aid, those are born out of his early boxing days at St Peter’s boarding school in India.”

Malek’s on-set physical transformation was equally intensive, requiring multiple wigs, makeup and even a prosthetic nose. Then there were Mercury’s famously protruding teeth, which earned him the childhood nickname Bucky. For Malek, it meant wearing a false set. “I wore them every night, almost, for a year to get used to them,” he says. “I felt incredibly insecure when I first put them in. I felt I needed to compensate in some way, and my posture elongated almost immediately, and I thought, ‘Wow, what gorgeous posture Freddie had. Was he doing the same thing?’ I never really had an answer for that.”

Leading man

Malek’s performance is even more remarkable in light of the film’s behind-the-scenes drama. Bohemian Rhapsody’s credited director Bryan Singer was fired by Fox after his continued absences from the set forced the studio to halt production with two weeks left to shoot. Eventually, he was replaced by Dexter Fletcher who finished filming and supervised the edit. In previous interviews, Malek has tended to be circumspect about what went down with Singer.

“I would love everyone to know exactly what happened day-to-day,” he says. “It was a very, very difficult, complicated time on set. All I wanted to do was honour this man and do him justice. I had put so much effort into doing just that, day in and day out. I’m very, very proud of the way I conducted myself. I have never felt I could be more of a leader than I was on that set.

“I gathered every ounce of strength I had in me, to step up and not only make sure I was taking care of Freddie by being there for everyone, cast and crew. I look back on it as a period of immense maturation, and I feel a strong sense of dignity. I have to thank my fellow actors for lifting me up every day. I also had great producers on my side. The crew on this, almost all English, saw the dedication we had as a cast, and the work I had already put in, and were never going to let me down. I have to hand it to every single one of them for stepping up, even under moments of great duress.”

But while Malek has received near universal praise for his portrayal of Mercury, the film has been criticised in some quarters for whitewashing the more excessive side of the Queen singer’s lifestyle to paint a more palatable portrait. “If it goes into a hedonistic, very promiscuous, illicit aspect of his life, I think we start to really limit our audience,” contends Malek. “The fact we are getting millions of people to go out and hear about Freddie Mercury’s story and Queen’s story, introducing so many fresh ears to great music, and perhaps sending a message of living a defiant, authentic, inclusive life, I’m very proud of that.

“Of course, there are a number of ways to tell Freddie’s story,” Malek continues.

“The one thing I was told he said before he passed, to the band and to [manager] Jim Beach, was, ‘Do what you want, just never make me boring.’ I don’t think we’ve made him boring.”

Offline Battle

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Re: How Rami Malek survived the "very difficult" 'Bohemian Rhapsody' shoot
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2019, 05:25:53 pm »
Wednesday, 6th February 2019
BAFTA Scrubs Bryan Singer's Name From 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Award Nomination

by Alex Ritman

Bryan Singer's name has been scrubbed entirely from the BAFTA Awards, despite Bohemian Rhapsody having seven nominations.

Following new allegations in an expose in The Atlantic accusing Singer of having sex with underage boys, the director has been removed from the one category in which he was mentioned by name, outstanding British film.
"In light of recent very serious allegations, BAFTA has informed Bryan Singer that his nomination for Bohemian Rhapsody has been suspended, effective immediately," BAFTA said in a statement.

"BAFTA considers the alleged behaviour completely unacceptable and incompatible with its values.

This has led to Mr Singer’s suspended nomination. BAFTA notes Mr Singer’s denial of the allegations.

The suspension of his nomination will therefore remain in place until the outcome of the allegations has been resolved.

BAFTA believes everyone has the right to a fulfilling career in a safe, professional working environment, and it will continue to collaborate with the film, games and television industries to achieve this."

The decision from BAFTA comes after GLAAD confirmed that it has removed the 20th Century Fox film from its nominees for outstanding film — wide release.

He was replaced by Dexter Fletcher with three weeks of filming still to go.

----------------------------------------- but wait, there's more...

Wednesday, 23rd January 2019

Bryan Singer Hit With Fresh Allegations of Sex With Underage Boys in Atlantic Exposé
by Abid Rahman, Evan Real

Over a 12-month investigation, the journalists say they spoke to more than 50 sources, including four men who have never talked about their experiences with the director before.

Bryan Singer has been accused by four more men of having sex with them when they were underage in a bombshell exposé in The Atlantic published Wednesday.

Over a 12-month investigation, the journalists say they spoke to more that 50 sources, including four men who have never talked about their experiences with Singer before.

One individual claimed that, at the age of 17, he had sex with the director at Singer's house in 1997.

Another claimed that he and Singer had sex the same year in a Beverly Hills mansion, when he was just 15.

Both assert that Singer, who was then in his early 30s, knew that they were under 18 and therefore below the age of consent in California.

"The accusations against Singer cover a spectrum," The Atlantic story emphasized. "Some of the alleged victims say they were seduced by the director while underage; others say they were raped. The victims we interviewed told us these experiences left them psychologically damaged, with substance-abuse problems, depression and PTSD."

One of the people the magazine spoke with said that Singer and his friends had people who brought them boys. "If you weren't young and cute enough to be their boy, you could still ingratiate yourself by bringing boys to them," he is quoted as saying.

Victor Valdovinos told The Atlantic that he was a 13-year-old extra on the set of Apt Pupil when Singer — then in his 30s — touched his genitals. According to Valdovinos, Singer molested him multiple times during a day of filming in a locker room that required partial nudity.

Valdovinos — the only subject to reveal his name; the other new accusers are identified by pseudonyms — said that Singer reached through the flaps of the towel wrapped around his waist and "grabbed my genitals and started masturbating it."

Valdovinos also said that Singer "rubbed his front part on me," adding that Singer "did it all with this smile." Valdovinos said that Singer told him, "You're so good-looking … I really want to work with you … I have a nice Ferrari … I'm going to take care of you."

Valdovinos recalled that he felt "frozen" and "speechless" after Singer's alleged advances. "He came back to where I was in the locker room throughout the day to molest me," Valdovinos added.

In December 2017, Singer was accused of rape by Cesar Sanchez-Guzman, who claimed Singer forced him to engage in oral and anal sex while aboard a yacht in Seattle in 2003 when he was just 17. Singer has denied Sanchez-Guzman's allegations and the case is still pending.

Speaking with The Atlantic, Sanchez-Guzman said that "the industry will brush things under the rug and pretend nothing happened. Most people don't see the truth."

The allegations made in The Atlantic come as Singer's professional reputation has been called into question after he was fired during the production of Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody in December 2017.

Executives at 20th Century Fox came to the decision after escalating tensions between Singer and actor Rami Malek caused by the former's frequent unexplained absences from set.

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« Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 06:39:31 pm by Battle »

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Tuesday, 28th April 2o2o
Olivia Munn Says Bryan Singer Went Missing for a ‘Thyroid Issue’ While Shooting ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’

by Ramin Setoodeh

For a long time, Olivia Munn didn’t fully grasp a question that she got asked all the time in interviews:

Journalists would want to know about the difference between being a man and woman in Hollywood.

“I got it for years before it clicked with me one day when I answered it,” Munn said.

“I used to think it was a silly question. But there is a difference, and I think people are trying to understand what the difference is.”

“And to me at least,” Munn continued,

“the difference between being a woman and a man in any industry is that before I speak up, I immediately in my head think of three different ways to say what I’m going to say. And from what I’ve understood from talking to male colleagues, it doesn’t happen like that.”

Munn told this story to Variety in late February, before the virus pandemic changed life around the world.

At the time of the conversation, she was still scheduled to attend South by Southwest, the film festival in Austin, Texas, in early March, which was subsequently canceled.

She was excited for the premiere her new movie, “Violet,” a drama about a female movie executive.

“Violet” will now likely debut at another film festival.

The film was directed and written by Justine Bateman, and Munn explained why it was important for actors to use their clout to champion female filmmakers.

“Justine is one of my favorite, if not my favorite, directors that I’ve worked with so far,” Munn said.

“She’s definitely somebody who’s a cinephile, who really loves so much about film and is pulling from different places. I’m like, ‘I see what you’re doing and I see how f—ing cool it is, and I’ll follow you.’”

To prove her point, Munn went on to describe a different filming experience that she had.

Munn appeared as the mutant Psylocke in “X-Men: Apocalypse,” the 2016 movie directed by Bryan Singer.

Months before production started on that film, two lawsuits alleged that Singer had sexually abused underage boys.

The accusations, which were later dismissed, painted the portrait of Singer as a hedonistic figure in the entertainment industry with a questionable work ethic.

According to Munn, Singer walked off the set of “X-Men: Apocalypse” in Montreal to fly to Los Angeles for approximately 10 days to deal with a “thyroid issue,” leaving the production to scramble without a director.

Even after that, Singer was hired by the same studio that released “X-Men,” 20th Century Fox, to direct the Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

In late 2017, Singer was fired in the middle of the production of “Bohemian Rhapsody” for allegedly not coming to work and clashing with actor Rami Malek.

Other stories followed about how Singer had also been missing on the set of “X-Men: Apocalypse” with reporting from anonymous sources.

When asked for comment, Singer’s publicist Howard Bragman responded:

“He saw doctors in Montreal and then came back to see doctors in Los Angeles. And to the best of our recollection, it only affected two days of shooting.”

Here’s what Munn had to say about making “X-Men” with Singer.

Olivia Munn: It’s possible [to work with women directors].

It’s the problem that I always had in this business, way before the #MeToo movement exposed so much.

You’re in it and you see these people who keep failing up, and they’re not that great and you think,


When we shot “X-Men,” I never shot a huge movie like that before.

I didn’t know what was right or wrong, but I did know that it seems strange that Bryan Singer could check out and say he had a thyroid issue.

Instead of going to a doctor in Montreal, which is a very high-level, working city, he said he had to go to L.A. And he was gone for about 10 days is my recollection.

And he said, “Continue. Keep filming.”

We’d be on set, I remember there’s a big scene that we’d have, and we’d come back from lunch and then one of Bryan’s assistants would come up and show us a cell phone with a text message on it.

And he texted to the actors,

“Hey guys. I’m busy right now. But just go ahead and start filming without me.”

And we’d be like,


And I never thought any of it was normal, but I didn’t realize that other people also thought it wasn’t normal.

And the other people who thought it wasn’t normal would be people at high levels, people who make decisions on whether to hire this person.

Come to find out it is really strange and it wasn’t OK.

But this person is allowed to continue to go on.

Fox still gives him “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and then we all know what happened.

I’m saying even before the #MeToo stuff was exposed — stuff that’s really horrendous and just nauseating to be around — there’s also just the bad behavior of people getting away with it.

And no one in the world is so talented that it merits disrespecting other people and their time.

And there are so many talented people waiting for an opportunity.

I think that if we made way for more of those people and held people accountable, there’s so many great human beings out there and directors and artists.

It’s not just with women but with minorities.

And representation matters.

You don’t know if things are possible until you see other people doing it.

I grew up, and I watched Lucy Liu.

And Sandra Oh, when she was doing “Sideways,” it meant so much to me to be able to see that.

The more people we get into positions of power who recognize themselves and other people who don’t look like the norm — i.e., minorities and women — then that’s how it will shift.

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Friday, 31st July 2o2o
‘X-Men’ Cast Almost Quit After Set Injury Allegedly Caused by ‘Incapacitated’ Bryan Singer
by Zack Sharf

A new Hollywood Reporter article about director Bryan Singer’s behavior during the making of the “X-Men” films reveals the main cast, including Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry, threatened to quit the superhero sequel “X2: X-Men United” following a stunt gone wrong.

Sources present during the filming of the comic book tentpole told THR that the stunt was performed ahead of schedule and while Singer and other members of the crew were “incapacitated after taking a narcotic.”

“X-Men” producer Tom DeSanto allegedly called for production to be halted after learning Singer was incapacitated as he “became fearful that someone on set could be injured.”

Sources told THR that Singer “was defiant and continued shooting.”

An injury occurred during a scene set on the X-Jet that featured all of the main cast except Ian McKellen.

The scene in question was supposed to be filmed the following day.

Bumping the scene ahead of schedule meant no stunt coordinators were present on set.

Singer’s decision to shoot anyway allegedly resulted in “a botched stunt that left Jackman bleeding on camera.”

Ralph Winter, another “X-Men” producer, shut down production following the botched stunt.

The “X-Men” cast threatened to quit the film the next day after 20th Century Fox “appeared to side with Singer” by telling DeSanto to leave the production and return to Los Angeles.

THR reports: “That prompted the main cast members, minus McKellen and Romijn — all dressed in their full X-Men costumes — to converge in Singer’s trailer and confront him, threatening to quit if DeSanto left. That’s when Berry famously said to Singer, ‘You can kiss my Black ass,’ a line that has been oft-reported in the years since but never with the correct backstory.”

Singer ended up finishing the production of “X2: X-Men United” with his cast in place.

The filmmaker would return to the franchise with sequels “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “X-Men: Apocalypse.”

Earlier in the THR report, executives behind “X-Men” admitted that allowing Singer to continue with the franchise despite such behavior is part of what enabled him to continue acting this way on sets throughout his career.

“It’s a weird business, the film business,” producer Lauren Shuler Donner said.

“We honor creativity and talent and we forgive the brilliant ones. Unconsciously, we probably do enable them by turning a blind eye to whatever they’re doing and taking their product and putting it out to the world.”

An executive involved with the “X-Men” films speaking anonymously added,

“His behavior was poor on the movie. We accommodated him on the first movie, and therefore we can accommodate him on the second movie. And on and on. And it created a monster.”

A representative for Singer told THR “nothing like that ever happened” in regards to the set injury.

IndieWire has reached out to the director’s team for further comment.

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