On May 15, the trailer for “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the long-awaited biopic about Queen singer Freddie Mercury, made its way online to a (mostly) positive reaction.
Within 24 hours, the film’s trailer racked up more than 5 million views on YouTube, propelling it to the top spot on the site’s trending list.
At first glance, it looks pretty great: Rami Malek makes for a convincing Mercury, and there’s obviously some great music. Even for a film that lost its original star (Sacha Baron Cohen) and multiple directors (Bryan Singer and Dexter Fletcher), it feels promising.
“The first show I created was called ‘Dead Like Me.’ As a proud homosexual, I wanted to represent queer characters,” he said during the speech:
“[The protagonist] George’s father was gay, and as the product of a gay person who bred despite better instincts, George’s life was an even greater miracle — and that she lost it so young an even greater tragedy. Mandy Patinkin’s monologue would write itself — except it didn’t. The studio and the showrunner made the character straight, and I was powerless to stop them.”
Looking at his own career, from the complete straightwashing of the characters he created in “Dead Like Me” to the queerbaiting (where it’s suggested that one or more characters in a show might be LGBTQ but is never actually addressed) of “Pushing Daisies” and “Hannibal” to the upfront portrayal of queer characters in “American Gods,” it’s easy to see that there has been progress in this area.
Even so, the fact that a biopic of queer icon Freddie Mercury dances around such an essential part of his life and death shows just how much more there’s left to go.