#FreddieMercury

'Bohemian Rhapsody' Highly Moving Even With Inconsistencies & Oversights

Where to begin… as the previews finally ended and Rami Malek came on the screen to introduce Bohemian Rhapsody my thought was … where will they begin the journey we were soon to take.

Arguably the most iconic thing Queen ever did was to participate in the Live Aid Concert in 1985. Varying camera angles, shots from behind, shots of Freddie’s behind in those ‘80s stone washed jeans, following up the ramp as Rami mimicked Freddie’s gait.  We’re given just a taste of where Bohemian Rhapsody will go, and end.

I’ve seen a couple of different Freddie Mercury biopics in my time and some many more than once.  Bohemian Rhapsody only has 150 minutes to take you on Farrokh Bulsara’s journey through life as Freddie Mercury. A scene of Freddie working his menial labor job as a baggage handler is where we first see him, but quickly jump to him preparing to go out for the night with friends. His mom asks if it’s with a girl and the camera quickly jumps to Freddie’s sister, Kashmira, as if she wants to blurt out something in response, but it is just as Bomi Bulsara, Freddie’s father enters, a good time to introduce the tension between father and son revolving around Freddie’s choices he is making, time spent, and the name change. Familial unit established.  Check.  Now on to the band and love interest.

The movie does not waste any time in getting Freddie into the presence of Roger Taylor and Brian May. The third scene less than 10 minutes into the film was a quick meeting of the talented musicians with a couple of comedic jabs that made the crowd laugh. 

Many of us will always remember Freddie as gay man, the film even has Freddie’s long term friend and one time fiancée Mary Austin tell him to his face that he was gay. I completely forgot about Mary, maybe the previous biopics I saw were more “he’s gay” and AIDS and flamboyance and promiscuity centered.  Was Mary an anchor in real life, one semi-solid relationship that Freddie had or was it a pairing the producers included to be able to show Freddie’s swing away from ‘the norm’ as he found himself, the music, the fame?  If the film tried to portray Freddie as a bisexual, in my mind, they failed.  

Was the movie a little short on the man-on-man action because of its PG-13 rating?  Movie producers were okay with seeing a shirtless Rami with Mary’s character on a couch as she is wrapped in a comforter, but as for the Freddie with another man, we are shown Paul Prenter (played by Allen Leech of Downton Abbey fame) trying to steal a kiss just to be turned away.  Freddie locking lips with other men? I think there might have been one more time we see that with Jim Hutton (played by Aaron McCusker) whom will become Freddie’s partner in life. I guess if you are going to portray someone as bisexual, there should be more about him than just a shot of him walking through a gay club and giving a brief kiss here and there. No, I’m not asking for gratuitous sex, but the portrayal of his personal life was a combination of him feeling distanced from Mary and a lost loveless puppy, not knowing where his heart should be. Did he never have a successful male companionship before Hutton? Maybe that was how it really was. Or was that just how we choose to remember gay men, the environments and choices that were being made in the early ‘80s.  Was this supposed misguidedness and loneliness the driving force behind “Somebody to Love”?

The movie’s first half has many scenes that try to piece together how this or that song was created, when and where, who inspired it, even having a scene where Freddie plays a piano backwards, upside-down, while laying on a bed, which story wise felt a little corny and forced.  Did it really happen that way? Some were believable, but others just seemed gimmicky.

What also seemed a little constructed was the build-up of our hatred toward Paul Prenter.  I do not recall any of this strife in any other documentary so either his villainous role in Freddie’s life truly existed or the portrayal of him as someone who pulled Freddie away from the band and loved ones and into a drug-filled debaucherous world in order to possess Mercury was done to give the movie an antagonist.

Bohemian Rhapsody was written to entertain, was constructed to follow normal rags to riches, overcoming adversity, the championing over a villain, but just missed the “happily ever after” sort of.  We smiled when Freddie finally tracked down Jim.  Jim had told Freddie to track him down once he loved himself which appeared to happen after he ejected Paul from his life and came to terms that it was okay for Mary to move on, have a relationship and a child with another man.

The movie did have some inconsistencies.

  • Freddie already knew the band members, hung out with them, and tried to become a band member for some time, was friends with Tim Staffell. It was true that Freddie did not become a band member until after Staffell quit, just like in the movie.
     
  • Mary actually dated Brian May first. She did not date Freddie until he became the lead singer of Queen.
     
  • There was no Ray Foster (Mike Myers’ character) There was a Roy (Featherstone) at EMI, but he was a fan of the group.
     
  • Freddie met Jim at a night club and was a hair dresser and never was Freddie’s servant.
     
  • The group never split up.  Freddie did some solo records on his own, but the band was in a well needed break at the time. So Live Aid was not so much a reunion for the group was never split.
     
  • Paul Prenter was fired a year after Live Aid. He did cause strife in the group and was not liked by all. That was true.
     
  • The awe inspiring scene in the movie was the Live Aid performance.  Although it seemed they did the whole set, I do not recall Crazy Little Thing Called Love or We Will Rock You in that scene, but they were in the real performance (see video below).
     
  • According to most reports, Freddie did not officially find out he had AIDS until after Live Aid. So his combatting his health issues before and during the concert were all for the movie. 

Be prepared to have straight women around you ooh and ahhh whenever one of Freddie’s cats appears on screen or freak out when Aidan Gillen (Little Finger from Game of Thrones) comes on the screen as John Reid. And of course there were some gasps during a collage of clips showing Freddie as he walks through a variety of gay bars and back rooms.

The overall feel of the movie was cute, campy, upsetting, and emotional. We went from the forming of the band and the creation of their iconic songs, to seeing Freddie deal with his love, love lost, sexuality, and trust of others. We adored watching the ‘70s and ‘80s clothing have a presence of its own on stage.

When I left the theater, my face felt swollen, puffy. There were about 4 times during the movie where I was either having my tear ducts being overly active and ready to give it a good cry or a trickle down my cheek. The incorporation of Freddie finding out his status with the background music of “Who Wants to Live Forever” (tearing up now) to the emotional recreation of the Live Aid performance, and just the feeling throughout.

I had forgotten that Live Aid or at least Queen’s performance was filmed very up close and personal.  The choice to mirror this in Bohemian Rhapsody played with our emotions that Queen and Freddie Mercury were bigger than life.  The shots of Rami even on the IMAX screen I watched on had him flowing over the edges, not being able to be contained.  I remember one whiny critic early on mentioned a promo for the film where they said Rami Malek is Freddie Mercury.  The complaint was that they should have said as instead of “is” since no one could be Freddie Mercury.  Well, by the end of the movie Rami was Freddie.  We were watching Mr. Mercury on the screen, the mannerisms, the look, the teeth, they were all tools that Malek used to bring us into that screen and bring us along the royal ride.

And that was the end of the film.  The producers or someone decided not to do any scenes of Freddie after Live Aid.  Words told the audience about the final years of his life with Jim. We would have loved to remember Freddie as the Freddie from Live Aid, but there are many of us that also have the images of him from Barcelona and his final days.  The movie apparently needed to pick a track to follow. They focused more on the creativity of the band as well as the tension between band members that by many reports did not exist, and did not fully embrace the bisexual/gay/AIDS aspect of his life.  I was actually dreading the end of the movie as I thought they would take it there, to his final days, in video form.  Am I grateful they did not?  No.  I do wish they did give me that gut check of how tragic his ending and many others lives ended during the AIDS crisis.  I am sure I would have truly lost it then. But would that have been too much for PG-13?

One of if not the best movie I have seen in years. So good, I may go see it again in theaters and that has only happened with me and a movie two other times in my life.



As a personal side note...

I remember Live Aid.  Queen played on Saturday, July 13, 1985. Just before 3 PM Eastern Standard Time. I was a young gay boy, singing in chorus, playing the cello, and enjoying the summer between my 5th and 6th grade.  I loved it when my older sister, the one with the radio in the house would play her music, especially when Queen was playing.

The original set list was as follows:

"Bohemian Rhapsody"
"Radio Ga Ga"
"Hammer to Fall"
"Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
"We Will Rock You"
"We Are the Champions"

Enjoy.

 

 

One more video for you from Yahoo.com

 

 

h/t:  rollingstone.com

Rami Malek, Who Plays Freddie Mercury in Movie, Refuses to Say Freddie Mercury Was a Gay Icon

It is common knowledge that Queen frontman and rock legend Freddie Mercury is one of the great queer icons.

Only, it appears the actor who plays him in a new movie isn’t aware of this.

At a press event for Fox’s flashy Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, INTO Magazine asked star Rami Malek if he sees Freddie Mercury as a gay icon. His response was awkward at best, insulting and disgraceful at worst:

“I think the way—what’s really great about him is that he never wanted to or thought about himself as being boxed into anything.”

He continued, awkwardly:

“If he’s an icon to one, there’s no reason it requires another adjective, as far as I see it…'icon,’ I think, encompasses whatever, the way you identify, I think.”


Mercury definitely had sexual relationships with men. Some say Mercury was somewhat fluid, and others today say he was openly gay among those knew him.

Mercury was in a long-term relationship with Mary Austin in the 1970s. He had an affair with a man, and that ended the romantic relationship with Austin, though they stayed friends until Mercury’s death.

It’s more than worth mentioning that sexual activity between men over the age of 21 in the UK was only decriminalized in 1967, when Mercury was 21 years old.

Mercury was in a long-term relationship with Jim Hutton from 1985 to 1991. Mercury died of AIDS in Kensington in November 1991.

Though Malek’s performance as Mercury has been mostly praised, Bohemian Rhapsody is getting a mixed-to-negative response from critics. As of this writing, it holds a mere 49% “Rotten” score on Rotten Tomatoes. It holds the same weighted score of 49 on Metacritic, indicating “mixed or average reviews.”

Bohemian Rhapsody is the work of at least three different directors. Bryan Singer was fired during production due to bad behavior. He was replaced with Eddie the Eagle’s Dexter Fletcher. It is also reported that the movie's cinematographer stepped in to direct some while Singer repeatedly didn't show up to the set of the movie Fox inexplicably, inexcusably hired him to direct. What a disgrace and embarrassment.

Where do you stand on all this? Will you see Bohemian Rhapsody, or will better use your time by just listening to Queen’s music at home and going to see some of the many movies that are actually getting good reviews this holiday season? Let me know in the comments. Thanks.

h/t: Pink NewsINTO

 

 


This post was created by one of our contributing writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other contributing writers when it comes to this subject.

Video: How Rami Malek Transformed Into Iconic Rocker Freddie Mercury

The producers of the upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, have shared a behind-the-scenes peek at the genesis of star Rami Malek “becoming Freddie.”

The film is described as a “foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury.”

Defying stereotypes and shattering convention, Mercury emerged as one of the most theatrical rock performers of the 1970s and 1980s. Following the meteoric rise of Queen through their anthemic songs and revolutionary sound, the band reached breathtaking heights in the music industry.

Although Mercury explored a solo career, it was with Queen that he found his greatest successes. While facing an AIDS diagnosis, he would reunite with his band. mates in 1985 for Live Aid, delivering what many consider one of the great performances in rock history.

He died at the age of 45 in 1991.

From the beginning stages of planning Bohemian Rhapsody, producer Graham King was convinced that Malek was their guy.

“He came in and I was like, whoa, he IS Freddie,” says King. “And he wasn’t just acting, it was something that came natural to him.”

Once cast, though, Malek felt the gravity of bringing the iconic rocker to life on screen.

“When you set out to play Freddie Mercury, you think ‘How am I ever going to fill those shoes?,” wonders Malek.  “It’s an immense responsibility but one that I was very eager to take on.”

In his approach to the role, Malek shares that he didn’t set out to mimic Freddie, but knew movement would be an intrinsic component to his performance.

“I had some top choreographers come in and realized a choreographer isn’t going to help me,” says Malek. “I need a movement coach.”

Polly Bennett was brought in to help Malek focus on specific ‘mannerism tricks’ that included “every eye lift, every turn, every flick of the microphone.”

And then there’s the all-important style of dress that made Freddie so much of who he was.

Malek shares there were over 50 hours of costume fittings which included four-inch high platform shoes, tight-fitting satin pants, and an entire outfit made out of lycra.

“When you dress as Freddie does, it makes every day feel like it’s going to be a good time,” says Malek with a smile.

Watch the teaser below and look for Bohemian Rhapsody in theaters November 2, 2018.

 

 

Why The 2019 Oscars Could Be its Gayest Yet

The 2019 Oscars aren’t happening until March 4th, but it appears that this could be the Oscar's gayest year ever, and for good reason.

Let’s face it, the Tony, Emmy, and Oscar award shows always have a gay element to them as its audience primarily consists of women and the LGBTQ community tuning in. It also helps the cause that members of our community are being nominated AND are winning awards at an increasing rate. This past Monday alone saw RuPaul and Co. take home several Emmy awards for RuPaul’s Drag Race, when it became the first LGBTQ show to win for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program.

Although we will have to wait just a little over five months for the Oscars, industry insiders are suggesting that two major gay icons have a big chance at winning that night. One of them is very much alive, while the other tragically passed away many years ago. Regardless, it would be an incredible moment on stage if Lady Gaga scored Best Actress for A Star is Born and Rami Malek won for playing Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.

Gaga has been a critics darling since her film (costarring Bradley Cooper) was released at several different film festivals. A Star is Born officially comes out in early October, where millions of “little monsters” will be waiting outside their respective theaters to see the woman they look up to the most star in a role that could easily earn her an Academy Award. Many of her fans identify as LGBTQ, and it would mean a lot for all of us to see such an icon for our community take home the gold that evening.

Is the movie gay-themed? Not at all, but Gaga’s force in our world over the past decade is undeniably large and would make for one hell of an acceptance speech should she win (presumably including words about our community). It might be too early to tell, but she will no doubt at least score a nod for her performance given how galvanized the critics have been with it so far.

Rami, on the other hand, has topped several critics choices for Best Actor for his role of Freddie. The film isn’t set to be released until November, which is considered prime Oscar time for several different films, but Bohemian Rhapsody has earned a lot of love from critics, similar to what A Star is Born has received. Of course, the irony in both of them winning would be incredible, given that Gaga’s last name is a reference to a song from Queen.

Another film that I hope earns several nominations at the 2019 Oscars is Boy Erased. The story is about the son of a Baptist preacher who is forced to participate in a church-supported gay conversion program after being forcibly outed to his parents. The family dynamic between its three stars (Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, and Russell Crowe) are showcased incredibly in the trailer alone as conversion therapy is a hot button topic in and out of the LGBTQ community now and it's good to see Hollywood doing something about it.

Only time will tell if these predictions will come true in March, but the idea of these movies winning for their own reasons are enough for this writer to tune in.


This post was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.

Rami Malek Embodies Freddie Mercury In First "Bohemian Rhapsody" Trailer

Check out the first trailer for the upcoming Queen/Freddie Mercury Biopic starring Rami Malek.

We’ve been excited for this movie ever since we got our first look at Rami as the famous Queen frontman last September.

Now, we get to not only see him in a single outfit or pose, but see him work a stage, work a recording studio, and speak as the man himself.

So without further delay ...

The teaser still gives us hope for a film that has had a lot of trouble behind the scenes. Though Rami Malek seems to be channeling Freddie Mercury to the best of his ability, the direction for the film was messy up until the end of last year.

X-men director Bryan Singer was the first director assigned to this film, and many worried that he would hold Bohemian Rhapsody back from its greatest potential.

On top of that, many were worried about Singer directing due to his shady past. Rumors of Singer’s sexual abuse have spread across Hollywood and beyond for years now.

Unfortunately, news started spreading in early December that Singer was becoming a problem on the set of Bohemian Rhapsody. He was calling in sick, showing up to set late, becoming a nuisance during filming, and even Malek himself had to complain.

This eventually led to Singer being fired from the project in early December and coincidentally he was sued a few days later for raping a teenager..

Despite this behind the scenes chaos, the Bohemian Rhapsody film is still moving on and the first teaser trailer is out. We’ll hope that Bryan Singer’s drama won’t have affected the film from becoming as good as it could have been.


Queen fans around the world can visit PutMeInBohemian.com on a mobile device and record their best rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody," for a chance to have their voice included in the movie.

Download the Poster and Additional Images HERE.
 
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY 
Release: November 2, 2018
Cast: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aiden Gillen, Tom Hollander, and Mike Myers