Fans Question Heterosexual Portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Biopic Trailer
By Andrew Magnotta
May 16, 2018
The trailer for the upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, released this week raised a lot of questions and concerns from fans.
Queen fans who watched the trailer were quick to point out that it contains overt suggestions of Mercury's relationships with women over his career, but little to no depiction of his relationships with men.
Film writer/producer Bryan Fuller posted several Tweets Tuesday afternoon about what he saw as hetwashing of Mercury's story. "[Is] anyone else mildly annoyed that the Bohemian Rhapsody trailer features gay/bi superstar Freddie Mercury flirting with and twirling with a woman but no indication of his love of men?" Fuller asked.
Fuller later suggested in his replies that the omission was intentional by 20th Century Fox in order to market the film to fans who would be uncomfortable with anything other than heterosexual relationships portrayed on screen.
Some fans empathized with Fuller's interpretation but presumed that depicting Mercury as a ladies man adds an additional level of intrigue to the film. Most fans don't know that Mercury had relationships with both men and women during his life.
The singer was, after all a complicated person, according to his former bandmates. Queen drummer Roger Taylor said shortly after Mercury's death in 1991 that while the band was close as a group, "we didn't know a lot of things about Freddie."
In his Tweets, Fuller refers to "three frames" of the trailer that depict Mercury apparently romantic with a man. You can catch that shot in the .GIF below where Mercury is sitting at the piano. But if you blink, you'll miss it.
Being that the script was largely crafted from the recollections of Taylor and guitarist Brian May, it's defensible that Mercury's relationships with women would play a large role in the story; it was what they knew of him.
May agreed in one interview that Mercury was probably bisexual, though it's unlikely he identified that way, simply because the term wasn't so widely used during his lifetime.
"You're talking to someone who shared rooms with Fred on the first couple of tours, so I knew him pretty well," May told Daily Express once. "I knew a lot of his girlfriends, and he certainly didn't have boyfriends in those days, that's for sure."
May went so far as to say it "never occurred" to him that the singer was gay until much later in their career, as Mercury was very private. Eventually, the singer revealed to the band that he had relationships with men, but he only did so "years after it was obvious."
While Fuller says industry "marketing code" in the trailer indicates he's correct in his assessment, he adds that he hopes he's wrong about the film.
Photo: Getty Images
Dude, he was bi and I'm sure that they wanted to keep something to thrill the audiences with, like most of the people know he was gay so they'll be wondering about his girlfriend and so on, And that actually worked on you pretty well 😃— Aisha (@Aisha01ald) May 15, 2018
Why not show both his romance for men and women equally?— Bryan Fuller (@BryanFuller) May 15, 2018