Can you tell Freddie Mercury’s story without talking about his battle with AIDS? It looks like “Bohemian Rhapsody” may be trying to do just that.
The new Queens biopic, starring Rami Malek as the iconic rocker, released its first full-length trailer Tuesday and, along with a wild medley of the band’s most recognizable songs, included a rosy picture of Mercury’s life.
“‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet,” the official description from 20th Century Fox reads.
“The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound. They reach unparalleled success, but in an unexpected turn Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, shuns Queen in pursuit of his solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his bandmates just in time for Live Aid.
“Facing a life-threatening illness, Freddie leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. Queen cements a legacy that continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day.”
Fans online, including producer Bryan Fuller, pointed out that the description skipped all mention of AIDS and instead referred only to Mercury’s “life-threatening illness.”
The “Somebody to Love” singer died at age 45 in 1991 from complications because of AIDS, just a day after revealing his diagnosis.
“Anyone else mildly annoyed (enough to tweet about it) that the #BohemianRapsody trailer features gay/bi superstar Freddie Mercury flirting with and twirling with a woman but no indication of his love of men,” Fuller tweeted.
“Yes, it was a life-threatening illness, but more specifically it was AIDS. From having gay sex with men. Do better.”
In another tweet, he accused the film of “hetwashing,” or hetero-washing, “for marketing sakes.”
“I feel what the trailer is doing is queer-erasure. If they were out and proud with his bi-sexuality they would have indicated he was bi-sexual,” he wrote. “Showing him romantic with a woman, but not a man (3 frames don’t count) is not a celebration of bi-sexual identity. It’s hiding it.”
The 90-second trailer does include a brief shot of Mercury with a man, but focuses more on his relationship with Mary Austin, played by Lucy Boynton.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” has gone through a number of controversies already, including Sasha Baron Cohen’s public departure in 2013 amid clashes with band members Brian May and Roger Taylor, and director Bryan Singer’s ousting last year after allegations surfaced that he sexually harassed a 17-year-old man.
Source: Ny Daily News