Huh. Color me surprised, Talkbackers. Here's the new BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY trailer, and it appears that it, maybe, possibly tells the truth.
Back when the first trailer came out, I was not much of a fan, to put it kindly. I could see exactly why Sascha Baron Cohen quit the production-- the trailer was trying to sanitize very important parts of Mercury's life that needed to be addressed, not just in the interest of historical accuracy, but as a matter of narrative. And I hated that this was all falling on Dexter Fletcher (as a director and actor I quite like) after he took over from Brian Singer being fired from the production.
That first trailer... I needed that movie in my life about as much as I would want a bunch of actors re-enacting all the talked-about moments from VH1's "Behind The Music" for the band Styx. (That actually sounds kinda funny, now that I think of it-- David Spade as Tommy Shaw, Judd Hirsch as Dennis DeYoung...) Fun, but not very interesting, in the end.
What made the story of Freddie Mercury amazing involved the music (check), the bandmates he fought with and created masterpieces with (check), and also his very hidden private life: his use of drugs, his temper, his male lovers, and contracting AIDS. He was/is an extraordinary man, who lived an extraordinary life, and what made his death so tragic for most was that the world was finally moving to the point of accepting homosexuality and AIDS, just in time to realize how forgotten Queen had been as a current powerhouse in their final years, despite refusing to hide in obscurity. He rose in legend greatly after passing and may have had more than a small effect in overcoming pockets of homophobia in the U.K. and America.
Mercury wasn't fearless, as the first trailer and the film's tagline have tried to suggest; that's the legend-- he just had the guts to press on in a very homophobic world, one where his audience started throwing razors on-stage instead of panties once he started dropping the clues (his mustache and biker look; the music video for I WANT TO BREAK FREE that American audiences had no frame of reference for, as a "Coronation Street" parody) that he might be gay.
This trailer gives me half a hope-- just half-- that beneath all of this fun and "Behind The Music" looks at how some great Queen songs were written, there's a tragedy that can be honest and unapologetic about its hero.
-- Precious Roy