Author Archives: Dayna Keyes

Richard E. Grant on Melissa McCarthy’s award-winning performance in ‘Can You Forgive Me?’

Richard E. Grant on Melissa McCarthy’s award-winning performance in ‘Can You Forgive Me?’

In CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?, Melissa McCarthy stars as Lee Israel, the best-selling celebrity biographer (and cat lover) who made her living in the 1970’s and 80’s profiling the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estée Lauder and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen.  When Lee found herself unable to get published because she had fallen out of…

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Author Archives: Dayna Keyes

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ star Rami Malek talks becoming Freddie Mercury

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ star Rami Malek talks becoming Freddie Mercury

Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury – an artist that defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet.


I’ve watched Mr. Robot, and at no point in that show did I think “wow, this guy could play Freddie Mercury.” And yet, Rami Malek took on the role of Freddie Mercury in a way that wholly convinced me he was the part. Watching his attention to detail in bringing Freddie to life on screen, down to his every nuanced movement, in the performance nearly brought me to tears, if I’m honest. I told Rami Malek this when I spoke with him at the screening of Bohemian Rhapsody at the Castro Theater, right before I spoke with Gwilym Lee (who played Brian May) and Joseph Mazzello (who played John Deacon). Check out the complete interview below.

Dayna Keyes: How did you work on the physicality, down to each little movement (to prepare for this role?)

Rami Malek: The thing about Freddie was that he was never choreographed. You look at performances these days and its all planned out. Well, there was nothing planned with him. Every night, no one knew what he was going to do. And so, you couldn’t have someone teach you a “five-six-seven-eight” rhythm. I had to figure out how to be as spontaneous as he was. That started an evolution, from starting to walk like him, starting to articulate hand movements like him, how to hold a cigarette like him, then eventually, how to do it all on stage. And I worked with a movement choreographer.

dayna interviews rami malek at the bohemian rhapsody premiere

DK: I was going to ask if you studied dance because your body was so in character. I listened to a bunch of old interviews and watched a bunch of interviews. There’s this little crinkly thing he does with his throat when he’s talking, and you even had that down. Did you just study Freddie Mercury? How did you get all of the nuances down?

RM: Yeah, it’s like…I fell in love with him because I watched him as an artist. Everyone appreciates him as a deity, he’s the closest thing to something God-like, and that’s on stage. I got to watch him in quiet interviews, in radio interviews. I watched every bit of archival footage that exists on the Internet, read everything I could, and I said, look, I’m never trying to impersonate him or mimic him but if something find its way into my body or my voice, I’ll hang onto it. It never had to be spot on, for me, I just needed to capture him…his soul, his essence…and shed some light onto a particular part of his personal life that no one really knows about.

Get the full interviews below.

Richard E. Grant on Melissa McCarthy’s award-winning performance in ‘Can You Forgive Me?’

Richard E. Grant on Melissa McCarthy’s award-winning performance in ‘Can You Forgive Me?’

In CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?, Melissa McCarthy stars as Lee Israel, the best-selling celebrity biographer (and cat lover) who made her living in the 1970’s and 80’s profiling the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estée Lauder and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen.  When Lee found herself unable to get published because she had fallen out of…Continue Reading