Allen Leech has joined the cast of Bohemian Rhapsody. In 1968 several young men in England formed a band called Smile. Over the next few years, there were several changes to the band’s makeup, as several bassists left and a singer/songwriter and pianist Farrokh Bulsara, aka Freddie Mercury, joined them. They also changed their name to Queen in 1970. Throughout the seventies and eighties, Queen became one of the biggest rock bands in the world, and to this day remain among the best selling music artists ever.
And their story is going to be told, in a biopic directed by Bryan Singer, with a planned release date in theaters on Christmas Day 2018. Mercury — who the film will especially focus on — is being played by Mr. Robot star Rami Malek. Recently it was announced that the rest of the band has also been cast, with Gwilym Lee (The Tourist) as guitarist Brian May, Ben Hardy (X-Men: Apocalypse) as drummer Roger Taylor, and Joe Mazzello (The Social Network) as bassist John Deacon.
Now Deadline is reporting that another actor has joined the cast. Allen Leech will play Paul Prenter. Prenter was Mercury’s personal manager, until he and Mercury had a falling out that ended their association forever.
Leech is known for playing chauffeur turned son-in-law Tom Branson on Downton Abbey, as well as one of Alan Turing’s fellow code breakers and German spy John Carincross in The Imitation Game.
Freddie Mercury, who was known for his flamboyant and theatrical performance style, was a very private man. He struggled with his sexual orientation throughout his life and attempted to maintain that he was heterosexual to the media and his fans. He also denied being HIV positive for years, only admitting to having AIDS five years after his diagnosis and 24 hours before he died from the disease.
Unfortunately for Mercury, Prenter could not be trusted with this information. After working for Mercury for almost a decade, Prenter was paid a large sum of money to reveal private information about Mercury to the press. He claimed that Mercury had male lovers, who were HIV positive. He even provided pictures of Mercury with the men he named. While Mercury tried to deny it, the damage was done and rumors haunted the musician for the rest of his life. He fired Prenter and never spoke to him again.
Mercury was a once-in-a-lifetime talent who is responsible for a number of songs which are still popular decades after his death. He is often ranked among the greatest singers of all time, and the betrayal by Prenter was one of several dark periods in his life that he struggled with while changing the history of music forever.