Director Stephen Frears has opened up about his work on Queen film Bohemian Rhapsody, revealing that his version of the movie would have had more gay sex.

The A Very English Scandal director was attached to an initial version of the Freddie Mercury film project expected to star Sacha Baron Cohen.



Cohen quit the production in 2013, and has publicly hit out at the surviving members of Queen, accusing them of trying to turn the project from a gritty R-rated biopic based on Freddie Mercury’s life into a family friendly film based on the band.

Despite strong denials of Cohen’s account from Queen reps, Frears told Vulture that there had been a conflict between Cohen and the band members.

Stephen Frears (Laura Lezza/Getty)

He said: “Sacha wanted to make a very outrageous film, which I would imagine Freddie Mercury would have approved of.

“Outrageous in terms of his homosexuality and outrageous in terms of endless naked scenes. Sacha loved all of that.”

He added: “You could always tell there would be trouble with the rest of the band. Because [Sacha] was so outrageous and they weren’t. They were much more conventional.”

Frears said that Cohen had wanted a “gritty R-rated tell-all,” while Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor “wanted a certain amount of caution” to preserve Mercury’s public image.

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Sacha Baron Cohen (Jason Merritt/Getty)

The director explained that he “drifted away” from the project after Cohen’s departure, one of several key figures to depart during its gruelling eight years in production.

London Spy actor Ben Whishaw and Layer Cake director Dexter Fletcher also quit the project, while X-Men director Bryan Singer was fired from the film.

Bohemian Rhapsody was eventually released in October 2018 to mediocre reviews.

The final film does depict Mercury as bisexual, but critics noted it shies away from portraying some aspects of the singer’s private life prior to his death from AIDS-related illness in 1990.

Rami Malek (Jeff Spicer/Getty for Twentieth Century Fox )

The film’s eventual star, Rami Malek, has said he pressed for more queer representation in the film.

Speaking to USA Today on Wednesday, Malek said there were “conversations left and right” about how to include more of Mercury’s “beautiful relationship with Jim Hutton,” whose wedding band the singer died wearing.

“It was something I pushed for, to be quite honest, as much as possible and repeatedly brought to the attention of producers and directors and everyone who would listen,” Malek added.

The actor continued: “I hope people do not feel that the film does a disservice to the community, and if it were me, I would’ve loved to have incorporated more.”




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