Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles The biopic Bohemian Rhapsody brings the story of Queen and Freddie Mercury to life on the big screen, but how much of what you see in the movie is the band's real life and how much is just fantasy? Yippee-ki-yay, movie lovers, it's Jan here, and in this video I'm revealing the six biggest differences between the Bohemian Rhapsody movie and the true story of Queen and their charismatic frontman. Keep watching to the end to find out how the movie changed Freddie Mercury's real-life look and hit the bell to keep up-to-date with all my new videos. According to the movie, Freddie Mercury, or Farrokh Bulsara as he was then, first met Brian May and Roger Taylor after seeing them perform on stage with their band Smile. That same night, Smile's lead singer Tim Staffell decided he'd had enough of the band going nowhere and quit. So, Mercury offered his own singing and song-writing services, and after a quick demo of his vocal talents, May and Taylor agreed, laying the path for what would soon become Queen. In reality, however, things happened rather differently as Freddie Mercury and Smile's lead singer Tim Staffell were actually friends at Ealing Art College where they both studied, and it was Staffell who introduced Mercury to Brian May and Roger Taylor in the late 1960s. Mercury was keen to be the band's lead singer, so when Staffell left Smile in 1970, Mercury was perfectly positioned to take over. The filmmakers probably went for a more condensed version of how Queen got together as they didn't want to spend too much time on the band's build-up but instead focus on their years as a group. By the way, Tim Staffell actually got back together with May and Taylor to re-record Smile's song 'Doing All Right' for the movie. In the film, we see Queen's lead guitarist Brian May showing the rest of the band his idea for the classic anthem We Will Rock You in a recording studio some time in 1980. And soon after, Queen are shown playing the new song on stage at Madison Square Garden. Now, while the band did perform We Will Rock You at that famous New York arena in 1980, Brian May actually wrote the iconic song several years earlier and, in fact, it appeared on Queen's album News of the World in 1977. The most visually striking issue with this scene in the movie is that in reality when Queen first performed We Will Rock You in 1977, Freddie Mercury didn't have a moustache and had shoulder-length hair. But because the film moves the song's composition to 1980, we see Mercury in the studio with the short hair and moustache he sported from that time. Much is made in the movie of how Mercury's desire for a solo career broke the band up. However, back in the real world, according to Brian May, "[they] all tried to leave the band more than once", and in fact, Mercury wasn't even the first member of Queen to release a solo album, that was drummer Roger Taylor whose album Fun In Space came out in 1981. And two years later in 1983, even though Queen did take a break from performing live, they still recorded a new album together. Also during that period Taylor made a second solo album and Brian May released a mini-album too. As for Mercury's solo offerings, he released a number of singles and two albums over the years, including Barcelona and Mr Bad Guy. In the movie, after the band agree to reunite for Live Aid, they say, "we haven't played together in years; it's kind of suicide to play again for the first time in front of millions". In real life, that just wasn't the case as Live Aid took place in mid-July 1985 and Queen had actually been on tour together from August 1984 to mid-May 1985 with their latest album, The Works. I imagine the filmmakers made this big change in order to raise the stakes for the band's Live Aid performance and make their show-stealing set look less like a foregone conclusion and more like an up-hill behind-the-scenes struggle. One of the benefits of this change for real-life Queen is that it airbrushes out some controversial moments in their history, such as performances in apartheid-era South Africa during a United Nations boycott and a Musicians' Union ban. I wouldn't expect to see something like that in an official biopic, but some reviewers have criticised the film overall for feeling rather sanitised, probably due to the band's heavy involvement as producers. In another departure from reality, the film has Mercury finding out he has AIDS and telling his bandmates about his illness shortly before Live Aid in mid-1985. In the real world, Mercury was reportedly diagnosed with AIDS in 1987, two years after Live Aid, and he told his bandmates sometime after that. It seems like the filmmakers made this timeline change as they wanted to use the Live Aid concert to frame the film and finish the movie on a huge high note for the band, while still recognising some of what happened after that. By bringing Mercury's diagnosis forward several years, the film deliberately dials up the poignancy of both the lyrics he sang and his performance. But the choice to cram so many events into one day, from Mercury tracking down his future partner, to coming out to his parents, to performing at Live Aid, turns this sequence into something of an exposition dump. Prosthetic teeth, an artificial nose, and a whole variety of wigs and fake moustaches were just some of the items used to help actor Rami Malek look like Freddie Mercury for the movie. One thing the film's make-up and hair department didn't use though was coloured contacts to change Malek's light-coloured eyes to Mercury's dark ones. It's perhaps a little odd that they didn't do that, so I wonder if Malek couldn't wear them for some reason. I remember Madonna saying the coloured contacts she wore for Evita were pretty uncomfortable and hard to get used to, for example. Or maybe the Bohemian Rhapsody filmmakers decided matching Mercury's eye colour wasn't a big deal. After all, the movie's hair & make-up designer has said, "You don't necessarily want them to look exactly alike, but you do want to catch the essence of the person." [Source: Jan Sewell, PopSugar] Either way, a difference in eye colour obviously isn't as important as finding an actor who can bring Mercury to life convincingly on screen; and Malek has certainly been getting great reviews for his role in the film. So, what did you think of Bohemian Rhapsody? Did any of these changes bother you and did you spot any others? Tap left to watch another Bohemian Rhapsody video or tap right for another video you're sure to like. If you enjoyed this, I really appreciate a thumbs-up and a share! Thanks for watching and see ya next time. Yippee-ki-yay, movie lovers!