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24/10/2018 12:55 BST | Updated 24/10/2018 12:55 BST

Bohemian Rhapsody's Rami Malek On Becoming Freddie Mercury: 'You Never Want To Mimic. You Never Want To Impersonate'

"If there ever is a side by side comparison, I won’t be upset if it doesn’t line up perfectly.”

Any actor who is tasked with emulating someone from history will often go to extraordinary lengths to recreate their character, but how does someone replicate the flamboyance and star power of an icon like Freddie Mercury?

Rami Malek - star of the new Queen biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ - was only too aware of the huge task ahead of him when he signed up to play the band’s frontman. 

But while some actors may worry about potential criticism, Rami admits he’s ready for people to say he hasn’t perfectly captured his essence. 

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Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury

Speaking exclusively to HuffPost UK, he says: “He is a global phenomenon and he is, in essence, the closest thing to a rock god - he is a deity.

“Even when I watch it now, I’m not so beholden to getting it perfect. You never want to mimic and you never want to impersonate.

“If there ever is a side by side comparison, I won’t be upset if it doesn’t line up perfectly.”

However, this doesn’t mean Rami wasn’t committed to every aspect of ‘becoming Freddie’, spending a whole year in preparation for the role. 

He says this time was vital for him, explaining: “It’s not something you can take on in a few months or weeks. If I had only had that time, it would have been a Herculean effort and I wouldn’t have even bothered.”

Revealing filming actually started with the film’s final scene - a recreation of Queen’s historic performance at Live Aid in 1985 - Rami says: “When I stepped on stage I tried to muster up everything I had to have that ownership he embodied so well on stage to have that audacity, his flamboyance, his whimsy, his bravado... and to some way relate to any audience the way he did so naturally.”

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Freddie Mercury

In order to prepare, Rami would fly to London as often as he could to meet with a special movement teacher who would coach him on how to recreate Freddie’s style.

Even though he had the time to get it right, he acknowledges it’s the hardest thing he’s ever had to do.

“There is no aspect of him that comes naturally,” he says. “Everything was a challenge and I appreciate that it was almost as if he was looking down and saying ‘if you’re going to do this you better do it right’.”

Rami had to go through a visual transformation too, and was given prosthetic dentures to wear for almost six months in order to recreate the overbite Freddie had, thanks to having four extra teeth in his mouth. 

While this would be annoying and uncomfortable for most, Rami says he found the teeth helped him connect more with Freddie, making him feel “instantly self-conscious”.

“It was to the point where I started having the best posture of my life when I had the teeth in, because I was compensating for some sort of insecurity that tethered me to Freddie,” he says. 

“By the end of it I felt almost naked without them in - they became part of my DNA.”

Rami was also rather fond of Freddie’s iconic moustache.

“It’s remarkable how people see you in a different light,” he says. 

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While he may not think it is a “perfect” portrayal, the effort Rami put in pays off in his performance as the swaggering front man. However, some critics have already claimed the film does not delve deep enough into the darker parts of Freddie’s life.

Rami’s justification for this is that there was a decision to focus on the highlights of his career from 1970-1985, celebrating the life of a man who could “sing to the back of the room. To sing to the outcasts, the misfits and allow everyone to feel like they can be their authentic self.”

“This is a celebration about a human being who lifted people up and that was the goal,” Rami says. “I think it was a deliberate decision and one I found very profound to choose triumph over tragedy.”

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is in cinemas from Wednesday 24 October.

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