Contrary to one of their hit songs, when it comes to development of a biopic about Hall of Fame rock band Queen, it has in fact not been a kind of magic. Sacha Baron Cohen was once supposed to play the lead of the late legendary frontman Freddie Mercury, but after being attached to the film for ages the Ali G star eventually bailed after a difference of opinion with the remaining members of the band about the tone of the film. Essentially he wanted to take an unbarred, warts and all approach, whereas they wanted something a bit more flattering, even if it took some creative licence to get there. And with Cohen out, the project just ground to a halt.
However Deadline reports that the film has now once again picked up some considerable steam as Emmy-winning Mr. Robot star Rami Malek has now been tapped to play Mercury. What’s more, it’s been revealed that 2oth Century Fox and New Regency have picked the X-Men franchise’s Bryan Singer to direct the film. Queen members Bryan May and Roger Taylor are still on board as producers, while The Theory of Everything screenwriter Anthony McCarten has penned the latest draft of the script, titled Bohemian Rhapsody after arguably the band’s greatest and most iconic song.
This is quite an unexpected development. Unlike Cohen, who actually bore a strong physical resemblance to Mercury and was a good fit for some of the singer’s more flamboyant characteristics, there’s nothing about Malek that really screams out “Freddie Mercury” to me. He’s a fantastically talented actor though, so I’m definitely not putting it past him. Similarly though, Singer has never done anything even remotely close to true story biopic. He’s been shepherding Fox’s blockbuster X-Men franchise for the last 16 years, taking occasional dips into other tentpole territory with films like Valkyrie and Jack the Giant Slayer. He hasn’t really done anything character driven since his two first big films, The Usual Suspects and Apt Pupil, but even those have nothing in common with a rock band biopic.
With this Queen movie being stuck in development for eight years now already, maybe these surprising additions are just what it needs to finally be realized as the film is now expected to start shooting early next year. I mean, after all, who wants their movie development to live forever?
Last Updated: November 7, 2016