Rami Malek insists his new Freddie Mercury biopic will not shy away from showing the Queen singer’s bisexuality or battle with AIDS.
Rami’s portrayal of Freddie in Bohemian Rhapsody has caused controversy, as an early trailer for the film showed the rocker mainly flirting with women and did not include scenes depicting his fight with the sexually transmitted disease that killed him.
The trailer drew criticism from members of the gay and bisexual community, including American Gods showrunner Bryan Fuller, but the 37-year-old actor says those who rushed to slam the movie are mistaken.
“It’s difficult,” he tells U.K. gay interest magazine Attitude. “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.”
Although Freddie, real name Farrokh Bulsara, had relationships with men and women, it was his partner Jim Hutton who nursed him through the illness, which killed him by weakening his immune system, in 1991.
The Mr. Robot star went on to add that Dexter Fletcher, who stepped in to replace Bryan Singer as director, and the cast took great care in their approach to filming Freddie’s final years.
“The film needed to approach it (his death) in a delicate manner,” he explains. “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.”
Bohemian Rhapsody is released on 24 October (18).