If theres one thing made clear by the current Bohemian Rhapsody promo tour, its that this cast are the best of friends – and like any group of best friends, they have a WhatsApp group that they really dont want anyone else to ever see.
We have a WhatsApp group – and photo sharing groups that I hope no one ever sees, were friends for life, laughs Gwilym Lee with an intonation in his voice that suggests that himself, Rami Malek, Joe Mazzello and Ben Hardy may have to genuinely have each others backs for life.
The four star as British rock band Queen in the Bryan Singer-directed Bohemian Rhapsody, which tells the story of Freddie Mercury and the bands rise to fame and the tensions that befell the band before their triumphant Live Aid performance in 1985.
In order to bond like Freddie, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon, the four actors met a month before filming to begin rehearsing in minute detail for the Live Aid sequence, which was the first scene they were to film when production began.
As much as possible we would try to play together, where we could, because although when it came to performances on set we would play to backing tracks it was really important to know how it feels to play with each other and feel that connection and to listen for each other and be in time and to have that eye contact and know that playing in a band informed how you move around and interact and where you stand, says Gwilym.
Also, we knew that one of the most important things in telling this was to capture the rapport between the band members – any band is tight but Queen were a family, a real unit, and like any family they have fallings out and tough times but they kept coming back together.
It was real inextricable bond between them that we needed to capture so we hung out a lot, we went out together in evenings, and Joe and Rami are both from the States so me and Ben would show them our favourite places and host them and just have fun together as much as possible.
To this day we are inseparable, were all best mates and it doesnt go a day when we dont all speak to each other.
The very first shot filmed was of the four lads opening the curtains backstage at Wembley and running out on stage, which Gwilym calls a real adrenaline rush.
The fear you see in our eyes as characters was very much real that day but it seemed a very appropriate way to start, he suggests, it was a real journey to get to that point so to start with the historic occasion of Live Aid was a joyous celebration.
The film has been in the works for 10 years, with Brian May previously revealing a mix of production issues and creative differences across the board; Rami signed on to play Freddie after Sacha Baron Cohen and Ben Whishaw walked away from the project.
Sacha had made it clear that he did not believe the script delved deep enough into Freddies AIDS diagnosis and suggested that Brian May and Roger Taylor wanted the biopic to be about them as a band, than the more tragic life of Freddie, who died in 1991.
Later, with two weeks of filming left, director Bryan was fired from the movie after Rami approached studio bosses with concerns.
Gwilym pauses when asked about the mood on set.
It was an unfortunate situation, he eventually says.
But we were all professionals and we all just get on with it. We knew at that point when the filming was paused who are characters were and we knew where we were at the story, so we took it in our stride.
It was a tumultuous set there is no doubt about it, and it came to a place where there was a lapse in time when our director was not present and we needed to find a new director, and I think that says it all, Rami previously admitted to Metro.co.uk when asked about his breaking point, we were here to honour and celebrate this human being, and no one is getting in the way of that.
Bohemian Rhapsody will hit UK cinemas on 24 October.