‘Nobody Expected It to Be That Huge': Brian May on Bohemian Rhapsody’s Success
Brian May is planning to usher in 2019 by launching a new song, "New Horizons," into space tomorrow (Jan. 1). But he's also looking looking back on the incredible year he's had, which culminated in the success of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.
“Nobody expected it to be that huge," he told Newsweek. "We thought it would do quite well. We didn't expect it to be a record-breaking blockbuster.”
The film, which was nominated for a Best Motion Picture - Drama Golden Globe, has grossed more than $600 million thanks, in no small part, to Rami Malek's portrayal of Freddie Mercury, which earned him a Golden Globe nod, too. “What an incredible performance he gives," May continued. "He just became Freddie.”
May also heaped praise upon the amount of preparation Gwilym Lee did in order to take on the role of the guitarist. “All the time we were together he was clocking me," he said. "He was absorbing what I was doing unconsciously. He's absorbing my mannerisms, my body movements, the tone of my voice. He just became me.”
Named after the probe that is exploring the outer reaches of the solar system, "New Horizons" includes the electronic voice of the late cosmologist Stephen Hawking. May, who collaborated with NASA on the project, wrote the song at the behest of Alan Stern, who is in charge of the mission. The guitarist credited Stern with providing valuable feedback throughout the writing process but also admitted, "I don't know if anyone's going to like it yet."