Actor officially signs on for project

Skyfall actor Ben Whishaw will play Freddie Mercury in the forthcoming biopic of the Queen singer’s life, it has been confirmed.

It was reported in October of this year that members of Queen wanted Whishaw to take on the role after the previous incumbent, Sacha Baron Cohen, pulled out of the project. Deadline now confirms that Whishaw has officially signed on to be part of the project, while Wild Bill and Sunshine On Leith filmmaker Dexter Fletcher will be in the director’s chair.

The script, meanwhile, has been penned by The Queen and Frost/Nixon writer Peter Morgan. The film was originally announced in 2010, but seemed in trouble this summer when Baron Cohen left the project, reportedly because he and Queen, who have script and director approval, were unable to agree on the type of movie they wanted to make.

Speaking about his departure, guitarist Brian May said: “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. 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.”

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe was subsequently linked linked to the film but quickly denied rumours he could play Mercury, saying: “I am completely wrong for that part!”