Rami Malek, usually sunken-eyed and glum-tempered in his role as a mentally ill hacker on Mr. Robot, transforms into legendary Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in a new biopic from 20th Century Fox called Bohemian Rhapsody, a trailer for which has just been released.
Mercury is arguably one of the most iconic musicians in recent memory, and channeling his charisma is no easy feat — but Malek seems to nail it, complete with the accent.
The trailer shows various recreated concert footage that takes audiences back to the '70s, with vintage costumes and paraphernalia ranging from the group's early years to Mercury's ever-changing wardrobe throughout Queen's run. Snippets partly reveal what the film will tackle, including the recording of "Bohemian Rhapsody" and skepticism from record executives regarding it being released as a single. Queen's career-defining performance at Live Aid in 1985 seems to be the film's centerpiece.
How the film plans to approach more delicate moments, particularly Mercury's bisexuality, plus the group's repeated denials of his illness up until his death from AIDS complications in 1991, remains to be determined. The trailer, however, has already received some slight backlash. Bryan Fuller, creator of Pushing Daisies, Hannibal, and American Gods, slammed 20th Century Fox for failing to highlight Mercury's bisexuality in the trailer, accusing the studio of "heterosexual-washing" him.
"Anyone else mildly annoyed that the 'Bohemian Rhapsody' trailer features gay/bi superstar Freddie Mercury flirting with and twirling with a woman but no indication of his love of men?" Fuller posted on his Twitter account.
He also took notice with the studio's official synopsis, which describes Mercury's AIDS as a "life-threatening illness."
"Dear 20th Century Fox: Yes, it was a life-threatening illness, but more specifically it was AIDS. From having gay sex with men. Do better," said Fuller.
It's possible that while the trailer doesn't delve into Mercury's bisexuality, the film will explore it in more detail. However, Fuller has a point in his accusations. Hollywood still has a persistent history of whitewashing — putting white actors in non-white roles — to make a film more palatable to a wider audience. An article isn't enough to explain why this practice is necessary, but it wouldn't be surprising if 20th Century Fox veers away from discussing Mercury's sexuality. This, however, remains to be seen.
Bohemian Rhapsody premieres Nov. 2. You can watch the trailer below. As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section!