Bohemian Rhapsody film vows not to ignore Freddie Mercury’s sexuality

Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen and actors Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello and Gwilym Lee attend the switch-on ceremony of a light installation in celebration of the film ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in London, October 21, 2018 – Image: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

In life as in death, Queen frontman Freddie Mercury knew how to cause controversy.

Now, 26 years after his death from AIDS-related pneumonia, all eyes are on Tuesday’s world premiere of biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, following earlier concerns the film might ‘straightwash’ or try to skate over the star’s overt sexuality.

Starring US actor, Rami Malek, as Mercury, the film, which has been more than 10 years in the making, sparked controversy in May, following the release of an initial trailer that was accused of downplaying the singer’s sexuality.

“Anyone else mildly annoyed that the #BohemianRapsody (sic) trailer features gay/bi superstar Freddie Mercury flirting with and twirling with a woman, but no indication of his love of men?” Emmy nominated film-maker, Bryan Fuller, said on Twitter.

However, Lucy Boynton, who plays Mercury’s former fiancée in the film, told online entertainment site, Digital Spy, on Monday, that the earlier trailer was just 60 seconds “which is supposed to tease basically nothing”.

A later trailer issued by 20th Century Fox, who produced the film, sought to calm fans with scenes of Mercury involved with another man.

Film critics contacted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation said they had been instructed to stay mum ahead of Tuesday’s world premiere, but early reports suggest the film does not dodge questions of Mercury’s sexuality.

Following Tuesday’s premiere at Britain’s SSE Arena in Wembley, scene of Queen’s iconic Live Aid charity performance in 1985, the PG-rated film opens in Britain on Wednesday.

Bohemian Rhapsody goes on general release in the United States on November 2.

-Hugo Greenhalgh, Thomson Reuters Foundation

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