Portadown actor Aaron McCusker: Playing Freddie Mercury's lover was a blast
Former Shameless star Aaron McCusker has told of his joy at playing a gay man for the first time in the blockbuster biopic of legendary Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.
The Portadown actor plays Freddie's lover Jim Hutton in the new Bohemian Rhapsody movie.
The 39-year-old said although the role tested his versatility, he found the scenes came naturally to him as an actor.
"It's the first time I have played a gay character which although was a challenge for me, it's now another string to my bow, I've now done it," he told Sunday Life.
"It's challenging playing something that isn't you, being a straight man playing a gay man.
"It was different, when reading through the script obviously there's scenes where I am kissing another man and I thought 'Okay I've never done that before,' so that was a challenge, but when we came to do those scenes it was like water off a duck's back.
"I had no qualms about doing it and I certainly wouldn't feel in any way nervous about playing a gay character in the future, I'm glad to have done it."
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Self-confessed Queen fan Aaron also spoke of his awe at being a part of the production and how it has rekindled memories of Live Aid and his forgotten love for the legendary rockers.
He said: "I'm not just saying this because of the movie, I am actually a Queen fan and Live Aid was just phenomenal.
"For them to go out and do 20 minutes and completely steal the show and blow the audience away was just crazy, especially as Freddie was sick at the time. To put on the performance they did was fantastic.
"I remember going through my dad's vinyl when I was nine years old and finding A Night At The Opera and putting on a song called Death On Two Legs.
"It had a line that said 'Now you can kiss my a** goodbye' and I used to put my headphones on and listen to it because it had a rude word in it.
"In fact, to this day that's still my favourite Queen song even though not many people know it.
"I was asked at the premiere so many times about my favourite song and every time I said Death On Two Legs people looked so confused; everyone loves the classic hits but I pick this song nobody knows."
Aaron, who is currently starring alongside Sharon Horgan in hit RTE2 comedy Women on The Verge, added his priority during filming was to get his part right for the friends and family of Jim Hutton.
He added: "The biggest challenge was just making sure I got it right because there's still so many people around who knew Jim. For people like them to say you've done a good job was great.
"My part isn't huge in the film but it's a very important part. Jim nursed Freddie and held his hand when he died so he was a massive part of his life.
"It was a great experience and I really enjoyed playing him.
"It was quite an emotional role, not so much playing Jim but Freddie's story, it's so sad. Back then there was such a stigma around AIDS and HIV and he suffered in silence.
Aaron says lead star Rami Malek is fantastic as charismatic Mercury.
"Rami is outstanding in the role, he blows you away he's so good. The whole cast were great."