As if TV fans needed another reason to be excited for Bohemian Rhapsody, the long-awaited Queen biopic starring Mr. Robot’s Rami Malek as charismatic frontman Freddie Mercury! If the first astonishing photo of Malek in full Mercury drag wasn’t enough to convince TV watchers to get off the couch and into the movie theater, then perhaps the latest casting addition will. Aidan Gillen, who has been very busy since leaving Game of Thrones, has just joined the cast, alongside Tom Hollander. The pair will play Queen managers John Reid and Jim Beach, respectively.
Gillen’s Thrones’ character, Petyr Baelish, got quite the unceremonious firing from his position as manager of the Stark family in Season 7 of the popular HBO series, and his Bohemian Rhapsody character will also get firmly dumped—but this time there will be a lot less blood involved. In a bonus feature from the 2011 documentary Queen: Days of Our Lives, Reid describes how the band gently let him go: in a tale that will be familiar to anyone who has seen the 70s rock film Almost Famous, Queen band member Brian May explains that Reid was putting too much focus on Mercury, and neglecting the rest of the band. Reid’s focus was also split between managing Queen and the enormously popular Elton John.
According to Jim Beach, Mercury insisted the band sign their “severance contract” in the back of his “Rollo” (Rolls-Royce), because it was the first flash car he had ever owned. “Freddie was . . . not sober,” Beach explains. That may not be the cold stones of the Winterfell throne room, but the back of Freddie Mercury’s Rolls-Royce is still quite a way to go out.
Reid left the band in 1978, and Beach has been managing it ever since—from low times to some of their most fertile periods, including the famous 1985 Live Aid concert which will mark the end of the film. Beach is also co-producing the embattled Bohemian Rhapsody, which saw a number of lead actors and directors come and go before finally settling on Malek and Bryan Singer. Hollander, a vastly underrated and compelling performer in the likes of Hanna, Pride and Prejudice, and The Night Manager, is an ideal choice to put an intriguing spin on such a steady character as Beach.
With the rest of the cast fleshed out by Joe Mazzello, Ben Hardy, and Gwilym Lee as the rest of Queen; Lucy Bolton as Freddie Mercury’s lifelong companion, Mary Austin; and potentially a role or cameo for famed “Bohemian Rhapsody” lip-syncer Mike Myers, this long-simmering project finally feels more like real life than fantasy.
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