Culture

Rami Malek Has Called Criticism Of His Upcoming Freddie Mercury Biopic “Absurd”

The film's been criticised for potentially avoiding Mercury's battle with AIDS.

Bohemian Rhapsody, the upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic starring Rami Malek as the singer, has had a bumpy ride.

First, it was stuck in pre-production for close to six years. Then, when filming did start, director Brian Singer was fired during production amid a slew of sexual assault allegations. And finally, when the film’s trailer dropped this July, the film was criticised for seemingly ‘straight washing’ Mercury’s life and avoiding his battle with AIDS.

Centring on Queen’s rise to fame, fans were concerned that Bohemian Rhapsody would, by nature of its timeline, essentially erase Mercury’s life with AIDS. Mercury was diagnosed in 1987, and died from in 1991 at age 45 — shortly before his death, he went public with his status.

Ahead of its impending release, Malek has told UK LGBTIQ magazine Attitude that the criticism is premature.

“It’s a shame that people are making remarks after a minute teaser where you just wanna see the music,” he 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.”

Malek also stressed that HIV and AIDS narratives remain important to portray, despite significant advancements in sexual health.

“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 added. “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.”

For now, we will have to wait and see. Bohemian Rhapsody will reach Australian cinemas November 1.