For years, Sacha Baron Cohen was attached to play Freddie Mercury in a biopic about the Queen frontman. However, Baron Cohen dropped out earlier this year due to creative differences with the Mercury’s Queen bandmates. The remaining Queen members identified Ben Whishaw as their ideal choice in October. Whishaw reportedly screen tested for the juicy role last month, and Deadline confirms Whishaw has landed the part. Additionally, Dexter Fletcher (Wild Bill) has signed on to direct. Hopefully this is the iteration that will get off the ground, because Whishaw is a promising young talent and I am curious to see what he can do as Mercury.
The script by Peter Morgan (Rush) starts with Queen’s formation in the early 1970s and ends around their 1985 Live Aid set, which you can watch in full after the jump.
In September 2010, Sacha Baron Cohen signed on to play Freddie Mercury in a biopic scripted by Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon). Despite premature production announcements, the biopic has kicked around in development for the past couple years. Stephen Frears (High Fidelity) was identified as the frontrunner to direct last summer, but several seasons have passed with no update. At the very least, the biopic is attracting great talent, because Deadline hears Tom Hooper is now circling the project. No formal offer has been made to Hooper, but I imagine working with a singing Baron Cohen on the Les Mis set was a fun experience worth repeating.
Speaking of Baron Cohen singing: Producer Graham King hinted the actor may attempt to sing all those Queen songs. Replicating Freddie Mercury is easier said than done (especially if Hooper would make him sing live on set), so we’ll see if that makes it past the Neat Idea stage. Morgan’s script starts with Queen’s formation in the early 1970s and ends around their 1985 Live Aid set, which you can watch in full after the jump.