Its rare in today’s age to have a film release and still have the public raving about it almost five months later. In a saturated industry, many will have its defining moment only to be forgotten – however, that’s not the case for musical biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, nor is it the case for Queen’s bass player John Deacon.
Behind the beats of the British rock band’s biggest hits – most notably Another One Bites The Dust and Under Pressure – Deacon’s bass lines have gone down in history. But often the forgotten man of the group, his doppelgänger in the film Joe Mazzello, sheds an interesting light on the man who has always remained elusive.
Best known for his role as Tim Murphy in Jurassic Park (1993) as well as his appearance in The Pacific and The Social Network in 2010, the actor has spent time both spent time in front and behind the camera. With experience as a director and screenwriter, if anyone knows how to dive into the psyche of an individual, its Mazzello.
“Do I still to this day hope that one day when this has all settled down I can be in London and just have a cup of tea with him? One hundred per cent,” he said. “I would love to meet the man, just to tell him how much I appreciate him and what a joy it was to try and tell his story and to try to be authentic to who he was…”
Mazzello’s fascination of Queen’s music arrived early on. Founded in 1999, Napster was the go-to to find music and the 35-year-old actor recounts Bohemian Rhapsody as the very first song he downloaded. He created a student film with Another One Bites The Dust and early on in his career played Somebody To love every morning for motivation. Who would’ve thought he’d end up fronting one of their very own.
“Lyrically, what they are saying speaks to me and the fact that they can write music that was celebratory and it was grand and they were unapologetic about it, I suddenly got very into that [in college] and started seeing Queen in a way that I should always have seen them. And my fandom has just gone up a steady incline until this moment when I found out that I was going to be a part of this movie.”
From his research on Deacon, Mazzello soon learnt what made the guitarist tick. “…one concert that was the most influential for me was the year we didn’t even do, 1986. They had a John Deacon camera so you can watch the entire set just focussed on him, so I watched everything he would do, when he would take his breaks, where he would come to the front and when he would scale back. I really got to see and get his movements down the most from that concert.”
“John was never someone who enjoyed the limelight,” he explained. “You watch interviews with him and you see him relieved when they are over. And you get something from that, even playing the character and feeling how affected he was by Freddie’s death.”
Like Freddie famously said in the film, “there’s only room in this band for one hysterical queen” and if Bohemian Rhapsody is anything to go by, Deacon’s quite nature was exactly what the band needed.
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