Freddie Mercury Biopic With Ben Whishaw Gets 2016 Start Date

Freddie MercuryBy Mark Hodge (doddleNEWS)

The big screen biopic of rock legend Freddie Mercury hasn’t bitten the dust after all.

Collider reports that Spectre co-star Ben Whishaw is still set to play the iconic Queen frontman, and that The Theory Of Everything screenwriter Anthony McCarten is drafting the script.

And if that wasn’t exciting enough, Tracking Board reveals that cameras will start rolling in June 2016 – meaning we might actually see this long-gestating project after all.

The picture looked dead and buried when Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen left, citing creative differences with the surviving members of the band. The British actor had hired scribe Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon) to write the screenplay.

Then director Dexter Fletcher, who had cut his musical teeth with Sunshine On Leith, joined and left the project (with Whishaw starring) – leaving it in a permanent state of limbo until now.

Musician and actor Johnny Flynn is reportedly set to play drummer Roger Taylor, and former Bond girl Gemma Arterton is being lined up to star as Freddie Mercury’s former girlfriend, Mary Austin.

ben-whishaw-Q
Ben Whishaw as Q

But it is of course Whishaw’s casting as the larger-than-life singer that is the most interesting.

The actor has to date been known for quieter, geekier roles, such as tech boffin Q in both Skyfall and Spectre. Now he is about to portray one of the 20th century’s most charismatic figures.

The film will reportedly center on Mercury, who died of an AIDS-related illness in 1991, during Queen’s heyday as chart toppers and stadium rockers, culminating in their seminal performance at Live Aid in 1985 – at least that’s what the synopsis was when Cohen was attached. The story may well change before production starts next summer.

Deadline also suggests that Bohemian Rhapsody, the name of the band’s biggest hit, may well be used as the title for the movie.

Still no word on a director – expect more developments soon on the Freddie Mercury biopic.

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