Since the creative collaboration between Sacha Baron Cohen and the surviving members of Queen bit the dust earlier this year, speculation has been rife as to who will play the lead role in the upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic. Ben Whishaw (who played the foppishly handsome gadgetier Q in Skyfall, and will return in the role for Bond 24) was rumoured to have been selected by Queen as Baron Cohen’s replacement as the iconic frontman (and rocker of one of the best moustaches known to man) back in October, and Deadline has today confirmed he has landed the role. While he isn’t quite the Freddie Mercury doppelganger that Baron Cohen is, Whishaw’s turns in Skyfall, as well as Cloud Atlas and Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer have shown that the dude can certainly act. Whether he’s got the pipes to match Mercury’s incredible singing voice remains to be heard.
Queen guitarist Brian May told Classic Rock Magazine in October that rumours of a rift between Queen’s desire to show a family-friendly version of events and the gritty R-rated film that Baron Cohen wanted to make were “sensationalist”, and that Baron Cohen didn’t walk out of the role. Instead, May and Queen drummer Roger Taylor “felt that his presence in the movie would be very distracting… We thought there has to be no distraction in the Freddie movie. You have to really suspend that disbelief – the man who plays Freddie, you have to really believe is Freddie. And we didn’t that could really happen with Sacha.”
“That’s not any criticism of his talent whatsoever, it’s just a feeling that it was not going to work – that the pieces didn’t fit together anymore.” May insists that they “parted company on very good terms.”
Via Deadline Hollywood. Lead image by Gareth Cattermole via Getty