Rami Malek, star of new Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, has spoken of the film’s impact regards raising awareness of HIV and AIDS.
In the new movie the actor plays Freddie Mercury, the flamboyant frontman of the rock band, who died of AIDS-related illness in 1991.
Speaking to Gay Star News, Rami said: ‘[Queen guitarist] Brian May told me this when we were talking about shooting the film. He said “There are a lot of people out there who don’t realize how significant a death sentence it was.”
‘Over 35 million people have died of AIDS. It’s a pandemic that still exists. I was just in Swaziland seeing what the Mercury Phoenix Trust [founded by May and Roger Taylor in memory of Freddie] have done. If they don’t get those pills every day, this thing could have a resurgence like you wouldn’t believe.
‘So as much as this is a very entertaining, emotional, celebratory film, it has an impact in so many different ways. It’s something you can take your kids to and perhaps give them a little bit of a history lesson, and still walk out singing some tunes.’
‘Freddie is a hero for me’
Although an early teaser trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody provoked cries of bierasure and ’straight-washing’, Rami also told us: ‘I want everyone to feel represented by this film. That’s exactly who Freddie Mercury was and is.
Speaking about the representation of bisexuality in the film, he furthermore added: ‘He’s someone who’s inclusive of everyone. He never wanted to be categorised or labelled. He just was. Whatever he was should have been OK.’
He also added: ‘If you’re out there and you’re exactly who you want to be, then I think for you Freddie Mercury might be a hero. He is for me.’
Bohemian Rhapsody hits UK cinemas tomorrow and US cinemas on 2 November.