Freddie Mercury Biopic Lands ‘Theory of Everything’ Writer; Ben Whishaw Still Top Choice to Star

     November 18, 2015


Remember that Freddie Mercury biopic Sony was putting together? The one Sacha Baron Cohen was attached to at one point? If you can believe it, the project is still alive and after a long development process things are finally heading in the right direction. After writing The Theory of Everything, for which Eddie Redmayne won his first Oscar, Anthony McCarten has been hired to pen the Mercury biopic, which is said to be tentatively called Bohemian Rhapsody after the band’s hit song.

The news of McCarten’s involvement was revealed by Deadline, and the trade reports that Ben Whishaw is still the top choice to play the iconic Queen frontman. Whishaw, who plays Q in the Daniel Craig-led Bond films, had reportedly signed on for the role, though those involved told the trade no deal has been struck as of yet.

Part of the problem in getting this film off the ground resided in creative differences between Cohen, who was originally pegged to play Mercury, and the surviving members of Queen, as well as the studio. Cohen was reportedly hellbent on making the film under an R rating, given the singer’s hard-partying lifestyle, struggle with HIV, and homosexuality. Cohen went on to film Alice Through the Looking Glass for Disney as the character of Time, while Sony has yet to officially announce an actor in the role. Peter Morgan wrote a draft of the biopic’s script, and directors Tom Hooper and Dexter Fletcher were both previously rumored for the gig at various points.

Aside from his latest turn in Spectre, Whishaw has been making a name for himself in lending his voice to Paddington, his various roles in Suffragette and The Danish Girl, as well as the provocative London Spy. The actor plays a character named Danny in the BBC miniseries who falls in love with a man wrapped up in the world of espionage; the show even featured an explicit scene that caught the ire of some viewers. I’m a big defender of Whishaw playing Queen, if only for the fact that LGBT actors are still fighting for roles in Hollywood. Whishaw, an openly gay man, would be another step forward in the right direction in playing such an icon of the community.

freddie mercury

Image via Peter Still/Redferns

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