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Is The Queen Biopic, 'Bohemian Rhapsody', Hetwashing Freddie Mercury?

By Kristy Puchko | Film | May 16, 2018 |

By Kristy Puchko | Film | May 16, 2018 |


After a rocky road through development and production, the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody finally debuted a trailer. And while many were giddy over the inclusion of the group’s most iconic songs and Rami Malek in Freddie Mercury mode, American Gods co-creator Bryan Fuller was unimpressed. More precisely, the openly gay writer was annoyed at what he sees as the “hetwashing” of a queer icon.

Some of Fuller’s followers took issue with “gay/bi,” which began a thoughtful exchange all too rare on Twitter.

And some argued that there are scenes of Mercury flirting with men.

However, it does seem like Bohemian Rhapsody will be shying away from another major element of Mercury’s life.

Last summer, Pink News reported that it is unlikely Mercury’s battle with AIDS will make the cut. This aligns with comments Sacha Baron Cohen made after walking away from the lead role, over disagreements with the band’s surviving members. EW reported that—according to Cohen—Queen wanted the movie to be a glorifying and PG affair that would glamorize and cement their legacy, while the Borat star wanted to embrace the whole of Mercury’s life, including the sex, drugs, and presumably his tragic death from complications related to AIDs, at a time when the disease was still considered by many to be a gay plague.

While the Star Observer’s 2017 article based on the Pink News post is making the rounds on Twitter, there’s nothing new to report. We don’t know how Bohemian Rhapsody will portray Mercury’s personal life, sexual orientation, or death. But 20th Century Fox’s ambiguous “illness” in the plot description gives little hope. And considering bi-erasure has been a long tradition in Hollywood that’s recently hit subplots of Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther, this bi reporter wouldn’t be especially surprised if even a movie about one of the world’s most famous bi stars was washed over with a heavy hetero tint.

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Kristy Puchko is the managing editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.