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.
Not sure if this is intentional or just coincidence, but I like that the producers—King, Tim Headington, Robert De Niro, and Jane Rosenthal—are seeking British directors to tell the tale of the London band.
Mercury is a fascinating pop culture figure, although this story version of the story reportedly ends before his struggle with AIDS in the latter half of the 80s and death in 1991. Still, I only know the broad strokes of the Queen story, so I am excited the details realized on screen, especially if someone as competent as Hooper or Frears steers the ship.