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

by Hugo Greenhalgh | @hugo_greenhalgh | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday, 23 October 2018 13:04 GMT

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, Britain October 21, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

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An initial film trailer sparked controversy after it was accused of downplaying the singer's sexuality

By Hugo Greenhalgh

LONDON, Oct 23 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - 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 U.S. 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, which 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. (Reporting by Hugo Greenhalgh @hugo_greenhalgh; Editing by Astrid Zweynert. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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