Choreographer Polly Bennett has shed light on what went into this particularly challenging part of the role
Rami Malek’s transformation into Freddie Mercury for the new Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody required a strict training regime in order to perfect the late frontman’s moves – and now Malek’s movement coach has lifted the lid on the process the actor went through for this part of the role.
London-based coach and choreographer Polly Bennett – who has also worked on The Crown – was employed to help accurately bring Mercury to life on the big screen, and she spoke to Billboard about the complex process that she and Malek went through for the film.
“[Freddie] was a long-distance runner at school and a boxer,” Bennett explained about Mercury’s regular on-stage displays of athleticism. “This gives us a reason why Freddie ran across the stage and punched the air, and [allows me to explain to] Rami: ‘This is why that character moves the way that he does.’ It’s interesting that Freddie only did solo sports, rather than football or rugby or any sort of team sport. In itself, that creates a physical attitude.”
Bennett also spoke about Mercury’s challenge of overcoming his physical insecurities, citing the example of the late singer’s teeth.
“If you’ve got something that you’re self-conscious of, your body is going to respond. It’s the same for Freddie’s large teeth,” she said. “On stage, he holds his microphone incredibly close to his lips. He’s using the apparatus as both his power and his self-consciousness.”
Additionally, Bennett gave her observations on Mercury’s ‘Hollywood flair’ – particularly in his references to “the flamboyance and the curly hands of Marlene Dietrich and Liza Minnelli”.
“He loves the head turns and little kicks. And sometimes, those kicks are really practical – he seems to be stepping over microphone leads, but he turns them into a move. There’s a certain awareness of physical gesture that he is emanating.”
Earlier this week, it was reported that Bohemian Rhapsody was facing cuts from censors in Malaysia as a result of the country’s strict laws on homosexuality.