Back to IndieWire

Rami Malek Hits Back at ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Critics, Film Doesn’t Ignore Mercury’s Sexuality and AIDS Diagnosis

"The film needed to approach it in a delicate manner. You can’t shy away from it," Malek says of Mercury's intimate struggles.

Rami MalekHollywood Foreign Press Association Annual Grants Banquet, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 09 Aug 2018

Rami Malek

John Salangsang/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

Rami Malek is taking critics to task over backlash to his new movie, the Freddie Mercury drama “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Following the May 15 debut of the movie’s first trailer, distributor 20th Century Fox received complaints from Mercury fans that the film was overlooking both the rock legend’s sexuality and AIDS diagnosis. Even “Pushing Daises” and “Hannibal” creator Bryan Fuller sounded off on social media, saying he was “mildly annoyed” with the decision to market the film by ignoring these signature parts of Mercury’s life.

In a new interview with Attitude magazine, Malek says the controversy is not needed since the film does address Mercury’s intimate struggles and does not overlook his sexuality or AIDS diagnosis. The actor, an Emmy winner for USA Network’s “Mr. Robot,” called it “a shame” that “people are making remarks after a minute teaser where you just wanna see the music.”

“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,” Malek told the publication. “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 continued by saying the movie approaches Mercury’s life in a “delicate manner.” “You can’t shy away from it,” he said. “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,” Malek says of the film’s inclusion of these plot points from Mercury’s life. “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.”

Fox’s official trailer, released July 17, included more overt references to Mercury’s AIDS diagnosis. The studio releases “Bohemian Rhapsody” nationwide

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Film and tagged ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox