Queen have got their man. Two months after Roger Taylor announced that Ben Whishaw was the band’s preferred choice to take the lead role in the long-planned Freddie Mercury biopic, Whishaw’s casting has been confirmed.
Deadline reports that Whishaw, who gained excellent notices after playing Q in the record-breaking Bond film Skyfall, has been handed the Mercury role in a film that will tell the story of the band in “a formative coming-of-age story … culminating in Queen headlining Live Aid in 1985”. Mercury died in 1991 of Aids-related illness, but the film will apparently not tackle that aspect of his life.
Dexter Fletcher, who successfully tackled the Proclaimers-soundtracked musicalSunshine on Leith, has been taken on as director, no doubt due to his presumed proficiency with a soundtrack containing a string of rock classics. The film’s heavyweight producers include Robert De Niro, Graham King and Jane Rosenthal, and they plan to put it into production in 2014.
A “passion project” for producer King and Mercury’s former bandmates, it originally saw Borat creator Sacha Baron Cohen cast in the lead role, and script work from Peter Morgan. However, Cohen left the project earlier this year, with it becoming apparent the band were unhappy with his brash comic personality. After considerable speculation as to who would step in, it seems Whishaw has got the nod.