Bohemian Rhapsody was a smash hit for Hollywood winning four Oscars. But once the film headed for its Chinese release, filmmakers seriously gutted the film to eliminate all that darned ol’ gay stuff.
Out was the gay stuff. Out was the same-sex kissing. Out was the drug use. And out was all that whole dying from AIDS business… you know… even though the guy whose life the film was about actually died from AIDS.
But… wasn’t the film supposed to be a big celebrations of gays?
Indeed, the film’s star, Rami Malek, praised his award-winning film for bravely exploring gays, and, er, “immigrants.”
In his acceptance speech, Rami Malek, who played Mercury, dedicated his best actor Oscar win to the musician, saying: “We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life just unapologetically himself.”
Immigrants? OK, whatever.
According to The Guardian:
The edited version premiered in China last weekend and reports have emerged of a rather more drastic set of snips, meaning not just Freddie Mercury’s sexuality and drug use but also his cross-dressing – and his Aids – are consigned to the cutting-room floor.
According to The New York Times, scenes lost include that in which Mercury discusses his sexuality with his fiancée and another in which his future partner, Jim Hutton, is introduced.
When Mercury tells his bandmates he has Aids – complications from which led to his death in 1991 – the dialogue was apparently silenced and no subtitles provided. A spokesman for 20th Century Fox, the studio behind the film, told the Times the company had no comment on the censored release of Bohemian Rhapsody in China.
Hollywood always claims that its “artistic integrity” means everything and that only evil people on the political right here in the U.S. would dare try to force them to edit things out of their movies. But this is all just a sham. After all, what it is doing to its own films for Chinese showings is nothing short of hypocritical.
But the truth is, Bohemian Rhapsody is not any different than any other Hollywood film. Every film Hollywood sends to China is edited for that tender Chinese sensibility.
So… artistic integrity be damned. When it comes to fleecing the Chinese of their Renminbi who cares about all that “art” nonsense?
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.