Ben Whishaw Wanted To Star In “Freddie Mercury” Biopic

October 21, 2013

According to Queen drummer Roger Taylor, it looks as if Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) is the top choice to play Freddie Mercury in the upcoming biopic.

In an interview on BBC‘s One Show, Taylor mentioned that the actor the band preferred had the initials “B.W.” and when asked it that meant actor Ben Whishaw, he replied, “Well, we hope so”.

Queen guitarist Brian May also revealed to Classic Rock magazine that one of the reasons Sacha Baron Cohen (originally attached to play Mercury) left the project was, “We felt that his presence in the movie would be very distracting”.

May continued, “What led us to that conclusion was the last three movies that (Baron Cohen has) 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 think that could really happen with Sacha.”

Back in July it was revealed that Sacha Baron Cohen had left the project over creative differences with Mercury’s former bandmates who wanted to make a PG movie, while Cohen was looking to make a gritty R-rated tell-all centered around the gifted gay singer. I kind of pictured something like Behind the Candelabra, the Liberace biopic starring Michael Douglas.

Cohen had brought in Peter Morgan to write and various directors including David Fincher and Tom Hooper to develop the project for himself. However, none were approved by the band members.

“We’re very protective [of Freddie] and we’re known for not hiding away from the truth. There’s not going to be any pretense about this. It’s going to be something very true – as true as we can make it – but also respectful to Freddie as a performer and as a man,” May concluded.

Whishaw, is the latest name rumored for the role with others including Daniel Radcliffe and Dominic Cooper.

I personally feel that the “Cohen is too recognizable” excuse is pretty weak. Wouldn’t Radcliffe be too recognizable as Harry Potter? Cohen looks remarkably similar to Freddie Mercury, is a better actor than most would think, and has a background in singing. Cohen walking out was a huge blow to the picture, therefore they’re probably trying to act like it’s no big deal.

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