Check out first pic of actor Rami Malek portraying Queen's Freddie Mercury

Neal Preston © Queen Productions Ltd.; ABC/Randy HolmesToday would have been Freddie Mercury‘s 71st birthday, and in conjunction with the milestone, Entertainment Weekly has published an exclusive photo of actor Rami Malek portraying the late Queen frontman from the upcoming biopic about the U.K. band, Bohemian Rhapsody.

The first-look photo shows the Mr. Robot star as Mercury, dressed in a white tank top and sporting the singer’s trademark mustache, in a scene that apparently recreates Queen’s famous performance at 1985’s Live Aid festival.

Talking about the first time he saw himself made up to look like Mercury for the film, Malek says, “When you’re able to open your eyes and see a different person staring back at you in the mirror, it’s a very affirming moment.”

Entertainment Weekly reports that Bohemian Rhapsody will have Malek utilizing his own singing voice in some scenes, while other parts of the film will feature recordings of Mercury and the vocals of a Freddie impersonator.

“We’re going to use Freddie as much as possible and use myself as much as possible,” Rami explains, while hinting that he currently is in the middle of recording vocal parts for the flick. “I’m in [London’s] Abbey Road [Studios] right now if that should say anything to you. I’m not working on my acting.”

Bohemian Rhapsody is scheduled to premiere on Christmas Day 2018. The movie is being directed by Bryan Singer, who has worked on most of the X-Men films, and will follow Queen from its 1970 formation through its Live Aid performance.

Singer tells Entertainment Weekly that rather than “a traditional biopic,” the film will focus on celebrating the music of Queen and the spirit of the group’s collaboration.

“It won’t just be the dark Freddie story,” Singer notes, “but that being said, that also will be honored.”

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