Don’t fret: Rami Malek says Bohemian Rhapsody doesn’t ignore Freddie Mercury’s sexuality or tragic death from AIDS.
The actor, 37, stars as the late singer in the highly anticipated biopic set for release this fall, which tracks Mercury’s rise to fame. The movie caused some controversy earlier this summer when a teaser trailer didn’t seem to show how Mercury was bisexual before succumbing to the disease.
The actor stood up for the film in a new interview with Attitude, where he urges fans not to judge the whole movie from a minute-long teaser.
“It’s a shame that people are making remarks after a minute teaser where you just wanna see the music,” Malek said. “It’s difficult. First, let me say that I don’t think the film shies away from his sexuality or his all-consuming disease, which is obviously AIDS. 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.”
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Hannibal and Full House writer-producer Bryan Fuller was one of the first to criticize the teaser for not showing all aspects of Mercury’s sexuality. Fuller later shared a screenshot from the trailer’s YouTube description referring to Mercury’s AIDS diagnosis as “facing a life-threatening illness.” He tweeted: “Dear 20th Century Fox, yes, it was a life-threatening illness, but more specifically it was AIDS. From having gay sex with men. Do Better.”
“The film needed to approach it in a delicate manner,” Malek continued of Mercury’s death. “You can’t shy away from it. 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.”
He continued, “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.”
Bohemian Rhapsody opens Nov. 2.