When Freddie Mercury made his remaining on-camera look inside the music video for “These Are the Days of Our Lives” in 1991, AIDS had left him gaunt and frail. The Queen frontman could barely stroll due to open wounds on his foot, a a part of which could later be amputated. But as Austrian filmmaker Rudi Dolezal, who shot the video, remembers, he nonetheless insisted on doing his job.
“The band’s manager, Jim Beach, said I had to cut down the number of takes,” Dolezal tells The Post from his residence in Miami. “But Freddie didn’t want special treatment. If you watch ‘These Are the Days of Our Lives,’ he’s doing it standing up even though he was in great pain, because he didn’t want to hold anyone up, or be difficult. To me, the way he managed his illness in working situations like that, made him an even bigger superstar.”
Mercury’s battle with AIDS is left largely untouched by the Golden Globe-winning “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which charts the rise of Mercury and his Queen bandmates Roger Taylor (drums), John Deacon (bass) and Brian May (guitar). The biopic stands to earn further acclaim — significantly for Rami Malek’s stirring lead effectivity — when the Oscar nominations are launched Tuesday. The movie ends with the band’s triumphant 1985 Live Aid effectivity at London’s Wembley Stadium, nevertheless for Dolezal that was when points actually obtained fascinating.
“They wanted to capitalize on the show, so they asked me to do the video for their single ‘One Vision’ in 1985,” says Dolezal, now 60. “That was the first time they hired me. I ended up doing around 30 videos for the band and their solo projects.”
Dolezal first met the band when he was a youthful TV reporter in his native Vienna, via the mid-1970s. He diligently despatched Queen his interview segments on the band, full alongside along with his contact particulars, and turned even nearer with Mercury when the singer lived in Munich inside the early ’80s. “Freddie was very happy in Munich because no one bothered him and, to be completely honest, he loved the gay scene there,” says Dolezal, whose 2000 BBC documentary, “Freddie Mercury: The Untold Story,” was nominated for a Grammy.
Eventually, Mercury moved once more to London and settled with hairdresser Jim Hutton. In public, Mercury was flamboyant and greater than life, nevertheless in personal, Dolezal remembers one factor very utterly completely different. “He was the greatest housewife you can imagine,” he says. “Freddie invited me to his private functions often, and, at one dinner party, the guests included Rod Stewart and Elton John. I remember there was a lot of bitching about other artists, and about themselves. I think Rod came up with the idea of forming a group called Nose, Teeth & Hair, because Rod had a big nose, Elton had problems with his hair and Freddie had his teeth!”
On one different occasion, Mercury’s hospitality went above and previous the choice of obligation. “I was getting very friendly with one of Queen’s backing vocalists, and she and I decided to go somewhere — just the two of us. Freddie realized that and said ‘OK, you can use my guest bedroom,’ and went upstairs and put in new linen on the beds for us himself. As a host, he really took care of you.”
The partying grew a lot much less frequent as quickly as Mercury was recognized in 1987. As depicted in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” he suggested solely his closest allies, insisting it was under no circumstances to be talked about further. (Dolezal found solely after one amongst Mercury’s former companions, German actress Barbara Valentin, let it slip.) Instead, Mercury plowed on alongside along with his work, and Queen launched “The Miracle” in 1989 and “Innuendo” in 1991. It was via the making of the latter in Montreux, Switzerland, that Dolezal says Mercury decided to cease his primitive AIDS treatment.
“The side effects were horrid,” says Dolezal. “The pills were so big you could hardly swallow [them], and you would be throwing up all the time.”
In his remaining weeks, Mercury was confined to the mattress room of his London dwelling inside the tony Kensington neighborhood, and it was apparently Dolezal’s work that saved him in extreme spirits. “I was told by one his assistants that Freddie watched my videos for ‘I’m Going Slightly Mad’ and ‘These Are the Days of Our Lives’ all the time,” remembers the director, rising tearful. Even when sick, he says, Mercury was enthusiastic: “He would say, ‘Play it again, play it again.’ ”
Mercury issued a assertion confirming he had contracted AIDS and died merely a day in a whereas Nov. 24, 1991. He was 45.
Dolezal is writing a book titled “My Friend, Freddie” about his experiences (due out later this yr) and plans to launch unedited variations of his interviews with Mercury in a new film, “Freddie Mercury: In His Own Words.”
With a lot of Mercury’s extraordinary life left uncovered, it opens the door to one different “Bohemian Rhapsody” film, with Brian May telling Classic Rock journal there “might” be a sequel.
“I think it would be a brilliant idea,” says Dolezal, who earned essential approval for his 2017 documentary on Whitney Houston, “Can I Be Me,” co-directed by Nick Broomfield. “He had so many adventures, you could probably do four movies!”