Queen's 1975 hit Bohemian Rhapsody has become the first pre-1990s music video to reach one billion plays on YouTube. The six-minute long promo, which is often hailed as a pioneering example of the music video, hit the milestone over the weekend. YouTube bosses claim it is the first song released before the 1990s to make the milestone. To celebrate, the band is releasing a newly remastered high definition version of the clip on their YouTube channel on Monday and are also launching a project titled You Are the Champions, allowing fans the opportunity to take part in three new user-generated videos. "We are honoured that Bohemian Rhapsody has just hit one billion views on YouTube," bandmates Brian May and Roger Taylor said in a statement posted on their website. Inviting fans to take part in their new project, they added: "We want to thank you all and celebrate with our amazing fans all around the world by creating three new music videos to our songs, all featuring you! Whether you are a musician, singer, dancer, visual artist or you just want to have some fun. Go to www.youarethechampions.com to find out more and we'll see you on the road somewhere." Their initiative allows singers and instrumentalists to submit their take on Bohemian Rhapsody, dancers can work on a video for Don't Stop Me Now, and visual artists have been asked to design any word or phrase from the lyrics to A Kind of Magic. Queen's YouTube channel will feature the finished fan videos later this year. The band's already immense popularity received a boost following the success of their biopic, also titled Bohemian Rhapsody, which debuted last October, made more than $900 million (£720 million) at the box office and won four Oscars, including a Best Actor prize for Rami Malek's portrayal of frontman Freddie Mercury.
The intense public interest in the onscreen death of Kit Harington's Game of Thrones character Jon Snow sent the actor to therapy. Kit was thrust firmly into the spotlight in 2015, when Snow was brutally killed off in the season five finale of the hit fantasy drama, and although he was later brought back to life, having to deal with the heightened fan and media attention made him extremely uncomfortable. "My darkest period was when the show seemed to become so much about Jon, when he died and came back," he tells Variety. "I really didn't like the focus of the whole show coming onto Jon... "When you become the cliffhanger of a TV show, and a TV show probably at the height of its power, the focus on you is f**king terrifying." The public scrutiny drove Kit to seek out professional counseling as he struggled to deal with his new level of fame, which also made him question his acting abilities. "It wasn't a very good time in my life," he reflects. "I felt I had to feel that I was the most fortunate person in the world, when actually, I felt very vulnerable. "I had a shaky time in my life around there - like I think a lot of people do in their 20s. That was a time when I started therapy, and started talking to people. I had felt very unsafe, and I wasn't talking to anyone. I had to feel very grateful for what I have, but I felt incredibly concerned about whether I could even f**king act." The therapy sessions helped Kit, now 32, come to terms with the impact the show was having on his personal life, and now, after filming his final scenes for the eighth and final season, he is relieved at being able to finally leave Snow behind. "I took off the costume, and it felt like my skin was being peeled away," he shares of bidding farewell to his beloved character. "I was very emotional. It felt like someone was shedding me of something." Season eight premieres on 14 April (19).
Thor star Chris Hemsworth has thrown his hat in the ring to become the second Australian James Bond. The Avengers star admits there was buzz about him playing 007 several years ago, when he was filming racing car drama Rush, in which he played British playboy driver James Hunt, but nothing came of the chatter. Now, as fans await news of who will replace Daniel Craig as the suave superspy following the Brit's final outing as Bond, Hemsworth admits he'd love to be considered. ''When we were shooting Rush... I thought, 'Cool, if this is my audition tape, then great'," Chris tells Balance magazine. "I don't think you'll ever meet anyone who doesn't want to have a crack at James Bond. I'd love to do it. "But that's up to so many elements and is way beyond myself; it's not one you can pitch yourself on to either. It's something that the community of Bond fans, (producer) Barbara Broccoli and the whole crew there agree on, and it has to be a very organic decision from them. There have been a lot of names thrown out there and a lot of brilliant people can tackle that one." The favorite appears to be Idris Elba, with Bond star Ralph Fiennes and his predecessor, Dame Judi Dench, both keen to see the first black 007, but there has also been buzz around Sam Heughan, Tom Hiddleston, Tom Hardy, and James Norton. If Hemsworth lands the role, he'll become the second Aussie to play 007, behind George Lazenby, who portrayed James Bond in 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Ironically, Lazenby favours Hemsworth's Thor co-star Elba as the next Bond - he previously told the Press Association a black Bond would be a good idea. "I mean, why not?" he said. "But then on the other hand, you’re going to have a lot of people scratching their head going, ‘James Bond wasn’t black'. Idris would be a good idea."
Jon Favreau’s The Lion King continues to do gangbusters at the box office where it has amassed $1.33 billion (£1.24 billion) globally since it was released on 19 July. Thanks to another strong weekend at the box office, the photorealistic CGI remake of the 1994 animation has overtaken 2017’s Beauty and the Beast lifetime gross of $1.26 billion (£1.047 billion) to become the studio’s most successful film beyond the Marvel and Star Wars franchises. Not only that, but it’s also now the 12th highest grossing worldwide release of all-time, and - if we’re counting it as an animated film, like the film’s own VFX supervisor is - it’s now Disney’s most successful animation of all time too besting 2013’s Frozen's $1.276 billion (£1.057 billion) haul.