A pair of interesting projects have suffered significant setbacks in the past couple of days. First up, the long-in-the-works biopic of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury has lost its director. Deadline reports that Dexter Fletcher has departed the project over “creative differences,” just as it looked like the film was finally moving forward with an eye towards a summer production start-date. Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) remains attached to star as Mercury for GK Films and Sony, but this is just the latest in a number of problems that have plagued the film. Sacha Baron Cohen was long attached to play Mercury before subsequently dropping out over, you guessed it, “creative differences” with the Queen band members.
Hit the jump for more, including news regarding the uncertain future of the promising sci-fi film Passengers.
Since the Freddie Mercury biopic has the rights to all of Queen’s songs, the surviving members of the band have been wielding a significant amount of creative power on the project, which seems to have become a bit of a hindrance. The pic, which will tell the formative story of the group up through their Live Aid performance in 1985, will now begin looking for a new director and hopes to keep close to that proposed start-date.
Additionally, last night we learned that The Weinstein Company had pulled Passengers from its release calendar, which had it slated for April 3, 2015. It was unclear whether a new date would be announced or if the project was completely dead, but now some new information has shed light on the pic’s future. Though director Brian Kirk (Game of Thrones) was gearing up to begin filming in Germany on April 7th with Keanu Reeves and Rachel McAdams in the lead roles, THR reports that McAdams has now departed the project, resulting in an unfortunate set of circumstances.
Not only is production now delayed, but The Weinstein Company—which acquired the independent project in an expensive deal at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival—has now withdrawn from the film altogether. Scripted by Jon Spaihts (Prometheus), the story takes place on a spacecraft that is transporting thousands of people to a distant colony. A malfunction in one of its sleep chambers causes a single passenger to awake 90 years before everyone else, and faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he decides to wake up a second passenger. One imagines this kind of story would be attractive to buyers given the recent success of Gravity, so hopefully a new distributor can be found quickly.
The report notes that filming has now been pushed back by several weeks, if not more, but the premise is incredibly promising so I’m hoping this gets back on track sooner rather than later.