Bohemian Rhapsody was a staggering success at the box office and during awards season. It has banked over $900million so far (and that’s not including DVD and Blu-ray) and scooped four Oscars (the highest of any film this year). So why did so many critics and fans complain about it? One of the major issues was the alleged whitewashing of the more extreme parts of Freddie’s life, alongside allegedly cynical manipulations of the timeline. May and Taylor fire back in a new interview and set the record straight on THREE issues.
RIGHT SONG, WRONG TIME: Pedantics will point out that 1978’s Fat Bottomed Girls was shown being played during the band’s 1974 tour.
May told Mojo: “I remember making a fuss about that… But I sat down with the film company and they explained that’ what you have to do if you want to tell a story. So these things are not mistakes. They’re done deliberately.”
FREDDIE’S HIV DIAGNOSIS: The film shows an emotional scene where the singer tells the band during Live Aid rehearsals. In real life, it happened much later.
May said; “To tell it that way would have required another hour of screen time. So we took liberties, or rather they, the filmmakers did.”
May said; “You carry a story with you and treasure it, but when you agree to sell it, it’s not yours anymore… but they always treated us with great respect.”
The famously outspoken Roger Taylor is even more blunt.
Taylor told Mojo: “I know Freddie didn’t announce he had AIDS before Live Aid. He told us in his bedroom much later. The important thing is it did happen and we’re not telling lies. The chronology doesn’t matter.”
MOUSTACHE MIX-UP: it’s the right Freddie moustache at the wrong time in the movie.
May fires back: “Any argument about whether he should have a moustache at a particular time in the movie is a waste of breath. The moustache is in the wrong place in documentary terms, but for telling the story we want to tell, it’s in the right place.”
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