Queen Hopes 'Skyfall' Star Ben Whishaw Will Play Freddie Mercury
No, it's not the monarchy that wants Skyfall and Cloud Atlas star Ben Whishaw to take the lead role in a gestating biopic about singer Freddie Mercury, but the band Queen hopes the actor will play their frontman following Sacha Baron Cohen's exit from the film. Appearing on BBC's "One Show," drummer Roger Taylor let the cat out of the bag. At first, Taylor only hinted at the potential casting saying, "We’re hoping for a guy with B.W. initials," and one of the cast members immediately threw Whishaw's name out there. Taylor responded, "Well, we hope so." It's not clear if talks are happening, but it sounds promising.
Daniel Radcliffe was recently rumored, but it turned out to be a complete fabrication and the Harry Potter star is definitely not involved. Whishaw is a fantastic actor, and he'll certainly bring charisma and power to the role, but we can't help but think that Queen really screwed up by letting Cohen get away. Here's what guitarist Brian May told Classic Rock Magazine (via The Wrap) when they parted ways:
“What led us to that conclusion was the last three movies that he’s made 'The Dictator,' 'Les Miserables' and 'Hugo,' in which he makes outstanding performances, but they’re very much Sacha Baron Cohen performances. And 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.”
It's been said that Cohen wanted to make a much more gritty, truthful portrayal of Mercury's life while the band is hoping to make it a little more glossy. May says Cohen and the band parted ways on good terms, but that could all just be publicity bullshit. Anyway, with a script from The Queen writer Peter Morgan (which is funny in itself), we're hoping this film still turns out well. Stay tuned as this project continues to develop.