This week will see the release of the long-awaited Bohemian Rhapsody, the biopic focused on Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. Mercury was one of the most flamboyant and controversial figures in rock, and this movie puts him front and center, helping people to understand the man behind the music that remains some of the most iconic in the world.
Actor Rami Malek felt the role was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But for all the iconic memorabilia that he could have taken from the production, he decided to take the fake teeth he wore for the production. And, honestly, that might be the right choice, given how much Mercury’s unique teeth contributed to his identity.
Why Freddie Mercury’s Teeth Were So Different
Freddie Mercury’s teeth were just one of several features that made the frontman’s appearance so odd. And, it turns out, it was definitely due to a physical abnormality: he had four extra teeth in the back of his mouth.
These teeth pushed his front teeth forward, contributing to what was a very pronounced overbite. Contrary to what is portrayed in the movie, Mercury was actually very self-conscious about his teeth. You can see this in interviews with him. Unlike his presence on stage, he is very shy in person and self-consciously works to conceal his teeth, with generally reserved speaking, keeping his lips tight around his teeth and his head lowered. Rarely does he get excited enough to speak with an open mouth. When that does happen, he is open for a while, then becomes aware of the camera and draws back again, concealing his teeth.
But as a multimillionaire, Mercury could definitely have fixed his teeth. However, he chose not to. He felt that his unusual teeth contributed to his unusual vocal range. And he may have been right. Our oral anatomy contributes to our voice, although teeth may be less important than some of the other structures.
Unlike contemporary David Bowie, who also had famously bad teeth, Mercury never went through a reinvention that included cosmetic dentistry.
Living with Mercury’s Teeth Wasn’t Easy
When Rami Malek was first offered the role of Freddie Mercury, he immediately agreed. But he also insisted that he be given the teeth right away so he could start adapting to speaking with them. This means that he ended up wearing the teeth for about a year, and much of that time he wasn’t even sure that the production would be going forward. That represents real dedication to the craft.
Malek found it difficult to adapt to wearing the teeth. He had several pronounced verbal problems, similar to what many denture wearers experience at first, especially if they have poorly fitting dentures. Malek tried practicing with them, and over time he came to speak and even sing with them in (although the music in the movie is dubbed).
Given the time and challenge that it took for Malek to get used to wearing teeth similar to Mercury’s it actually makes sense that he would keep them as a memento. And, as Malek explains, “It is the most ostentatious thing I have probably ever done, and, in the spirit of Freddie, being as outlandish as I could, I said, ‘What would be more him than casting these in gold?’”
Your Smile Is Your Identity
Mercury was partly defined by his distinctive teeth. For many of us, the situation is similar. We might also have a similar love-hate bond that causes us to want to maintain teeth that we might otherwise consider unattractive. Or we might just hate our smiles and want to get a smile makeover.
The good news is that you can usually get a beautiful smile and maintain your identity. Expert Tulsa cosmetic dentist Dr. Meghan Hodges can design a smile makeover specifically for you, one that achieves the results you want. You can maintain features that you like about your smile and still have a beautiful smile that you’ll love.
To learn more about about custom smile design in Tulsa, please call (918) 528-3330 today for an appointment at élan.