Does movie ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ ignore Freddie Mercury’s sexuality? Rami Malek clarifies things

Rami Malek attends the premiere of Bleecker Street Media's "Papillon" at The London West Hollywood. Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

Rami Malek is setting the record straight — pardon the pun — about upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.

After the release of the movie’s first trailer in mid-May, critics were quick to point out that there was no footage of Malek-as-Mercury with other men, despite the well-documented history of Mercury’s bisexuality and relationships with men.

Producer Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, American Gods), who is an out gay man, chimed in as well, claiming the movie altogether ignores that aspect of Mercury.

British rock group Queen in concert, from left to right; Freddie Mercury, John Deacon, and Brian May. Express Newspapers / Getty Images

READ MORE: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ trailer — Freddie Mercury comes to life in first look at Queen biopic

Fuller accused the movie of intentionally focusing on Mercury’s heterosexual relationships, specifically with his longtime friend Mary Austin, as shown for a few mere frames in the teaser trailer. Calling it “queer erasure,” Fuller said, “If they were out and proud with his bisexuality, they would have indicated he was bisexual.”

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During a recent interview with Attitude, Malek spoke out about Fuller’s comments, stating, “It’s a shame that people are making remarks after a minute[-long] teaser where you just wanna see the music.” He added, “Let me say that I don’t think the film shies away from his sexuality or his all-consuming disease, which is obviously AIDS.”
Freddie Mercury of British rock band Queen with his friend Mary Austin, during Mercury’s 38th birthday party at the Xenon nightclub, London, U.K.,. Dave Hogan / Getty Images

Malek hinted at the importance of the music in this biopic. While Mercury’s sexual orientation is not the focus of Queen, his personality, story and tragic death are all essential to the full Queen story.

“I don’t know how you could avoid any of that, or if anyone would ever want to. It’s a bit absurd that anyone’s judging this from a minute trailer,” he said.

Rami Malek is seen at Jimmy Kimmel Live on Sept. 4, 2018. in Los Angeles, Calif. RB/Bauer-Griffin / GC Images

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The star also addressed the speculation and concern among fans and critics that Bohemian Rhapsody would ignore Mercury being HIV-positive and his eventual AIDS diagnosis:

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“It was an important moment to have in the film, one that ultimately is very sad but also empowering in a way. … It shows you just how resilient human beings can be and how much we rely on the strength of our friends and family to get us through tough times. … This pandemic is still very much a horrific threat to so many people in the world. It exists as a reality for so many that I think it would be a shame not to address it.”

Malek finished off by saying that this movie will paint a perfect portrait of the late Mercury. He urges fans of Queen and music in general to go see the film.

Freddie Mercury of Queen performs at a concert on Jan. 1, 1986, in London, England. Anwar Hussein / Getty Images

Fuller’s outburst continues to rack up controversy. For the most part, people were either defending the movie or calling Fuller out for being disrespectful in calling Mercury gay rather than bisexual — his actual sexual orientation.

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Freddie Mercury and Brian May of British rock band Queen in concert at Wembley Stadium, July 1986. Dave Hogan / Getty Images

Bohemian Rhapsody has an early U.K. release set for Oct. 24, including a special premiere at Wembley Arena, just next-door to Wembley Stadium, where Queen headlined the Live Aid festival in July 1985.

Lucky Canadians can now pre-order tickets here for advanced Oct. 31 Cineplex screenings in select Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal theatres.

(Dressing up as Freddie Mercury is encouraged.)

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is scheduled for a Nov. 2 release in Canada.

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