Rami Malek hits out at Bohemian Rhapsody over gay representation

A scene from Bohemian Rhapsody. Director Bryan Singer has been suspended from a BAFTA nomination amid sexual abuse claims

Rami Malek has said Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody did not delve far enough into the Queen singer’s life.

The Mr. Robot star played Freddie Mercury in the critically-panned release, which spent years in development amid rumoured fall-outs between the production and surviving Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor over the focus of the film.

Malek previously hinted at his unhappiness with the lack of focus on the gay icon’s private life in the film, saying he “would’ve loved to have incorporated more” about Mercury’s relationship with Jim Hutton prior to his death from AIDS-related illness.

“I don’t know if we ever felt fulfilled by it.”

— Rami Malek

The star made another broadside this week, in an interview with Australia’s WHO Magazine, saying that he wishes “we could delve deeper” into Freddie Mercury’s relationships with men.

Malek said: “I just kept pushing for more of that aspect of his life… I don’t know if we ever felt fulfilled by it.”

A shirtless Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody

Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody

The star said of Mercury: “You see him on stage and then almost instinctually I’d want to discover more. There’s just an eloquence and elegance to him that you see when he’s on stage, and then you can [see] where all that was birthed from.

“I mean, not many artists are wearing an entire head-to-toe leather outfit, sipping a champagne flute and telling their audience to strip naked if they please. And he still comes off with this essence of royalty.”

Hutton is depicted, but critics have blasted the film for presenting a glossy, sanitised version of Mercury and not delving fully into his famously-wild private life.

Bohemian Rhapsody production chaos

Sacha Baron Cohen, who was attached to the project before Malek, walked away from the film and alleged that the surviving Queen members had attempted to stifle attempts for a gritty, true-to-life account of Mercury’s life.

Producer Stephen Frears, who departed the project shortly after the Borat star, said that Cohen had pushed for explicit gay scenes in the film.

Speaking to USA Today last month, Rami Malek said there were “conversations left and right” about how to include more of Mercury’s “beautiful relationship with Jim Hutton,” whose wedding band the singer died wearing.

Bohemian Rhapsody, released in November, stars Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury

Bohemian Rhapsody, released in November, stars Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury

“It was something I pushed for, to be quite honest, as much as possible and repeatedly brought to the attention of producers and directors and everyone who would listen,” Malek added.

Malek continued: “I hope people do not feel that the film does a disservice to the community, and if it were me, I would’ve loved to have incorporated more.”

Bohemian Rhapsody’s gay scenes censored internationally

Producers ignited even more fury this week, when it emerged that some international versions of the film cut out all of the scenes featuring Freddie Mercury and Jim Hutton.

The head of the Malaysian Film Censorship Board, Mohd Zamberi Abdul Aziz, confirmed on Tuesday (November 13) that the biopic has been censored to omit the references to his same-sex relationships.

Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek attends the film's premiere

Rami Malek, who plays Freddie Mercury attends “Bohemian Rhapsody” New York Premiere at The Paris Theatre on October 30, 2018 (Steven Ferdman/Getty)

Speaking to the Malay Mail, Aziz confirmed that the Malaysia release of Bohemian Rhapsody had cut “four gay scenes,” adding: “anything related to LGBT or promoting it will not be approved.”

Cinema-goers reported that around 20 minutes of material was excised from the film in Malaysia, while Aziz claimed there were three minutes cut.