This image released by Twentieth Century Fox shows Gwilym Lee, from left, Rami Malek and Joe Mazzello in a scene from "Bohemian Rhapsody." Picture: Alex Bailey/Twentieth Century Fox via AP

The world celebrated when news came out that one of the most-loved rock stars of the 20th century would be honoured through film. Named after the Queen smash hit, Bohemian Rhapsody tells the story of Freddie Mercury, the larger-than-life creative genius.

The film has suffered a number of setbacks from the loss of Sacha Baron Cohen, who would have played Mercury, to the even more dramatic departure of director Bryan Singer, who was fired for abandoning the London set midway through filming. Singer said he was caring for an ailing parent.

Cohen was replaced by Rami Malek and Singer by Dexter Fletcher.

There have been other controversies. The production has been accused of attempting to airbrush Mercury’s character and life. 

And it stands accused of ignoring the role played by Barbara Valentin,a soft-core porn actress who is believed to have been one of the more profound loves of Mercury’s life.

Mercury’s biographer, Lesley Ann Jones, who was responsible for Freddie Mercury: The definitive biography told The Telegraph in the UK she was annoyed by the Mercury biopic.

Jones said while the film paid attention to Mary Austin and portrayed her as a grieving widow, it ignored Valentin.

“There was another woman, called Barbara Valentin. She’s been left out of this film. It’s an airbrushing of somebody who was so vitally important to him. She and Freddie met in Munich when Queen were recording there in ’84, and they fell in love and set up home together - they had an apartment together. 

"She was the love of his life. She was like him: they were a mirror image of each other. She completely got him in every way imaginable. He absolutely loved her,” she said.

Valentin died of a stroke at age 61 in 2002, after having spent years trying to get some recognition from Queen’s management and to keep the flat the pair shared in Munich.

It remains to be seen just how the film’s creators will respond to the criticism. 

* Bohemian Rhapsody opens in South Africa on November 30.

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