Square Mile
Menu Search

From Jurassic Park to Bohemian Rhapsody – Joseph Mazzello is the child star made good

Former child star of Jurassic Park, Joseph Mazzello is now playing legendary bassist John Deacon in Bohemian Rhapsody. He talks Queen, fame, and juggling skills

How much guitar experience did you have before the role?

I took about a year of guitar lessons back during college, but had essentially never picked up a bass. That changed quickly when I found they were interested in me for the role. I learned a couple of their songs in case the producers asked to hear me play and luckily they brought me to London six weeks early and hooked me up with Paul Westwood, perhaps the best session bassist in England. I took lessons with him four days a week. We continued during the shoot as well when we could fit them in. Basically, I was playing bass every day for a nine-month stretch.

What’s your favourite Queen anecdote you’ve heard?

I love the fact that John Deacon wrote the famous bass line to Under Pressure just goofing around in the studio, then went to lunch, came back and when the band was asking him what it was cause they really liked it, he told them he completely forgot it. I believe it was Roger who remembered it and had to show John his own bass line. Just imagine being that talented that you can casually write essentially the most recognisable bass line in history and be like "oh yeah what was that?"

How was it working with the other members of the band?

One of the greatest pleasures of my life. Honestly, the four of us are like brothers. I've known Rami Malek for 11 years, back when we did HBO's The Pacific together. And I literally went on vacation with Gwil and Ben after we finished shooting. We are that close. And playing music together on set was so much fun and a completely unique experience as an actor for me.

After Jurassic Park I have a memory of being at a restaurant getting stared at by literally everyone

Who is your acting idol?

Probably Jimmy Stewart. He’s emotionally compelling in every role. Always draws me in.

Do you remember the first time you were recognised?

Well I've been acting since I was five so probably not, but after Jurassic Park I have a memory of being at a restaurant getting stared at by literally everyone. Then the waiter asked for an autograph and suddenly everyone in the restaurant basically formed a line.

Who is the favourite actor you’ve worked with?

Ever? Woah. Impossible to say. But I got to work with Richard Attenborough as an actor and director, which is pretty amazing. David Strathairn has played my dad three times in movies, and we did four films total together, so he holds a special place in my heart.

What's the most fun moment that you've had on set?

Honestly, performing the entire 20-minute Queen set from Live Aid is very high on my list.

I'd love to run a company where I have multiple projects going at the same time

What's the strangest thing you've had to do on set?

Slide into a rotting corpse in a mud pit then, before filming the next shot, get covered in actual live maggots that I had to scrape off my body with a knife in rural Australia for The Pacific.

What talent do you have that would surprise us?

Acting. Just kidding. Um, I am a pretty good juggler. Boring answer.

What's your next project?

Right now I'm working hard to get a pilot I wrote off the ground entitled The Man In The Radio. If it all works out, I'd be acting in it as well but it’s a long road to home with these things.

What’s your biggest career aspiration?

I want to act and direct throughout my entire life. I want to create. I'd love to run a company where I have multiple projects going at the same time and have a hand in all of them. That's the dream.

Bohemian Rhapsody is at cinemas from 24 October

Loading