Earlier this week, 20th Century Fox debuted the new trailer for their Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, which also played during Thursday night screenings of Deadpool 2 last night. While the trailer was largely embraced upon its debut, American Gods and Star Trek Discovery creator Bryan Fuller took to social media to bash the trailer for failing to recognize Freddie Mercury's open homosexuality, and then elaborated on his criticisms in a new interview. Here's what Fuller had to say in his first tweet on May 15, after the first Bohemian Rhapsody trailer was released.
"ANYONE ELSE MILDLY ANNOYED (enough to tweet about it) THAT THE #BohemianRapsody TRAILER FEATURES GAY/BI SUPERSTAR FREDDIE MERCURY FLIRTING WITH AND TWIRLING WITH A WOMAN BUT NO INDICATION OF HIS LOVE OF MEN?"
Fuller also sent out a second tweet which included a photo of 20th Century Fox's official plot description, calling out the studio for stating that Mercury was facing a "life-threatening illness," instead of specifically saying that he was suffering from AIDS, which he contracted from, "Having sex with gay men." He also called on the studio to, "Do better," while including the hashtag #HETWASHING. Bryan Fuller also elaborated on why he called out the studio for this trailer in a new interview. Here's what he had to say below.
"It's important because of Hollywood's long history of erasing queer history, or at the very least minimizing it," Fuller writes. "Even Mary Austin, who Freddie Mercury called the love of his life, somewhat famously corrected Mercury when he told her he was bisexual: 'No, Freddie, you're gay.' By emphasizing heteronormative images without a balance of same-sex images, the marketing folks are making a statement of what content they feel more comfortable putting forward about this film," he continues. "Judging from this trailer alone, it felt to me like queer erasure, regarding Freddie Mercury's bisexuality or his relationships with men [that] felt conspicuously absent, or rather significantly de-emphasized. The use of 'life-threatening illness' in the publicity material smacked so disturbingly of Reagan-era AIDS denial, my ass was triggered like Roy Rogers," he adds. "Representation matters. If a story I'm telling isn't necessarily a queer one, I want to make sure the audience understands there is a queer one telling it."
This project has a rather long and storied history, with Sacha Baron Cohen once attached to play Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. The actor revealed in a March 2016 interview with Howard Stern that he left the project over a disagreement with the remaining members of Queen, who wanted to have Freddie Mercury's death happen in the middle of the movie, with the back half of the movie to show, "how the band carries on from strength to strength," while also revealing the band wanted to downplay Mercury's extravagant gay lifestyle and his AIDS diagnosis. After Sacha Baron Cohen parted ways with the project, Mr. Robot star Rami Malek came aboard to play Freddie Mercury, with Bryan Singer slated to direct.
The project became embroiled in controversy one again when Bryan Singer was fired in early December, with the director claiming that 20th Century Fox wouldn't allow him to take care of a sick parent, while other reports claimed he was fired for his unprofessional behavior, including the director disappearing for days on end, which he has a history of doing. Dexter Fletcher (Eddie The Eagle) was brought on to finish the film, and the IMDB page lists both Fletcher and Singer as directors, for now. Take a look at Bryan Fuller's tweets below, and head over to Upworthy for their interview with Fuller.