"Bohemian Rhapsody" has been met with immense amounts of support, as well as concern over whether Mercury will be portrayed accurately. (Image via The Verge)

Mama Mia, Mama Mia let me go! Approximately 30 years after the passing of Queen’s lead singer Freddie Mercury, the iconic front man and his wild life will finally be portrayed on the big screen.

Slated to hit theatres on Nov. 2 of this year, the film aims to capture the life and experiences of Freddie Mercury in a biopic, complete with the entirety of the band Queen.

Guitarist Brian May, bass guitarist John Deacon and drummer Roger Taylor will be seen accompanying Mercury as their musical journey takes shape.

During his time with Queen, and even long after his death, Mercury has become a global sensation for his contributions to the music industry and popular culture in general.

So, some 30-something years later, one of the biggest icon to ever take the stage is now finally having his story told to the world. With that said, you’d think it would’ve been done years ago, wouldn’t you?

Rami Malek will star as Freddie Mercury in the new film “Bohemian Rhapsody.” (Image via InfoMusic)

Well, there have been talks about making the Freddie Mercury movie for years, but for some reason it just never came to fruition. In 2018, however, it appears Hollywood decided to move forward with the project in its entirety.

Entitled “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the film is expected to embody everything that made Queen into the worldwide phenomena that the band became.

Based off of their most iconic song, “Bohhemian Rhapsody” comes as a title that might be a little too on the nose.

If you’re familiar with Freddie Mercury and Queen — or not — chances are you’ve at least listened to the song “Bohemian Rhapsody” at least once. The title leaves little mystery as to what the film could possibly be about.

Playing Freddie Mercury is Rami Malek, the actor who has won a Critics Choice Award for his leading role in the technology-thriller series “Mr. Robot.” Judging from the trailer, it seems as though Malek embodies a similar energy and physique as the late Freddie Mercury.

His portrayal, as shown in the trailer, comes complete with the famous mustache and haircut that Mercury brought on stage during Queen’s musical takeover in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. With this being said, the actor chosen doesn’t seem to be too much of a concern for critics.

What critics are concerned about, however, is whether or not the writing for the character will encompass the nature of Mercury’s sexuality.

After his passing from the AIDS virus, it became known to the world that Mercury was bisexual (probably to nobody’s surprise). He only revealed his diagnosis from the virus just hours before his passing in 1991. However, the front man has always been known for effeminate behavior and flamboyant tendencies on stage.

As a global icon, Mercury helped to transform the music industry, but he also set a different standard in culture. His queer nature and unapologetic expression of self have impacted the world in a similar way as his music.

Queen was known for their innovative music that shook the pop culture industry. (Image via Digital Spy)

For most die-hard fans of the singer and band, it’s important for his qualities to shine through his character on the big screen because of how important it was to his career, but some are worried that Hollywood may overlook some of these qualities, or even outright ignore them.

The initial teaser trailer released for the film has critics worried that the character’s portrayal won’t be genuine to the true Mercury. Critics have been calling it “straight-washing,” in which the character will adhere to heterosexual tendencies to change the message of the movie.

The trailer highlights the glamorous lifestyle of the singer alongside his bandmates, costumes, huge crowds and groundbreaking music. If it can be any hint to the rest of the movie, the trailer seems to focus more on what went on behind the making of the music, rather than the ins and outs of his entire life.

It’s hard to judge the entirety of the movie off of just one teaser trailer, but it could hint at a total miss as far as appropriating the character. The Guardian even stated that the film, based off the trailer, doesn’t seem to be interested in exploring the “ambiguities of his life,” which are obviously big parts to his character.

Hitting the big screen in such a progressive year that is 2018, it seems a little odd that the creators would wish to overlook these aspects. It seems to be the right time in our current culture to celebrate a major queer icon like Freddie Mercury.

It won’t be known how the actual portrayal will play in the film until it gets released; however, the worldwide sensation that was Queen, will likely serve itself as a marketing campaign to reach just about every movie goer out there.

In just a two-minute trailer, it may be too soon for critics to be up in arms about something that isn’t even confirmed to be true yet. Given the information available, all that’s known is that the costumes and stage presence seem to be in sync with the way Freddie Mercury spent his career.

If these aspects of his life are left untouched in the film, there’s no doubt that a number of fans will take issue. In the current, culturally sensitive society, it’ll be important for some fans that the character will be seen on screen from all angles, including Mercury’s sexuality.

It is a little ridiculous for critics to have expressed so much negativity toward the portrayal given just one trailer and a release date so far. The trailer shows the film should be well done with attention to detail.

Coming so many years after his passing, it would only make sense that those involved with the making of the movie have done their research.

Regardless of the backlash, critics and fans alike still seem to be excited to finally see the icon on the big screen, alongside his band mates and thousands of screaming fans. It remains as one of the most anticipated films of the year.

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Joey Cunningham

University of Arizona

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