A straightforward homage, however, didn’t seem appropriate. Working with Universal Music’s Dave Rocco, the pair reimagined Mercury’s song “Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow” as an animated short that tells an allegorical, queer-inclusive love story.
Released Thursday to mark what would have been Mercury’s 73rd birthday, “Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow” depicts a relationship between two white blood cells who are illustrated as gay men.
Before long, one of the cells/men is revealed to be HIV positive. Though the serodiscordant couple are saddened by their reality, they appear later as older versions of themselves swaying beneath a disco ball, implying that a happily ever after was achieved.
“Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow,” viewable above, reflects multiple aspects of Mercury’s legacy. The legendary singer-songwriter was, by varying accounts, gay or bisexual and died of an AIDS-related illness in November 1991, just one day after publicly confirming he was HIV positive.
Bravo and David, who identify as LGBTQ, wanted “Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow” to steer clear of overt references to Mercury and, instead, be indicative of the modern AIDS pandemic. The pair used animation to relay a different aspect of the queer experience in a 2017 short, “In a Heartbeat.”
“In researching the HIV/AIDS virus and the way it affects the body’s immune system, we were inspired to take a look at the story through a more microscopic lens,” they told HuffPost in an emailed statement. “This perspective gave us a more direct visual representation of our conflict, which allowed us to explore the more nuanced struggles the characters face in their relationship with each other, their perceptions of themselves, and society’s perception, bias, and neglect of them.”
The video’s happy ending, Bravo and David added, acknowledges the lives that have been saved with recent advancements in HIV-related health care. As such, it spotlights the Mercury Phoenix Trust, an HIV and AIDS advocacy group founded by Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor after Mercury’s death.
Through perseverance, strength, and love, our characters not only survive, but live long, healthy lives together. filmmakers Esteban Bravo and Beth David
“The LGBT+ community fought for years for the right to proper research and healthcare, and because of that fight, millions of lives have been saved,” Bravo and David said. “Through perseverance, strength, and love, our characters not only survive, but live long, healthy lives together.”
Though only a modest hit, “Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow” first appeared on Mercury’s 1985 solo album, “Mr. Bad Guy.” The song will be included on “Never Boring,” a forthcoming retrospective of Mercury’s work as a solo artist due out in October.
Interest in Mercury has resurged in the past year thanks to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the 2018 Queen biopic starring Rami Malek.
In June, never-before-seen footage of Mercury performing “Time Waits for No One” in a London theater became a viral smash. As of Thursday, that video had been viewed more than 17 million times on YouTube.