The long-gestating, controversy-laden biopic about the rock band Queen is finally moving forward — or so says the band.
A post on the band’s official website said that preproduction will begin next week in Britain, with filming starting in London as early as September. Bryan Singer (the “X-Men” franchise) is set to direct, and Rami Malek, who stars in USA Network’s “Mr. Robot,” has been tapped to play Freddie Mercury.
The film, tentatively titled “Bohemian Rhapsody,” has been in limbo for over 10 years, with various names attached to the director’s chair and Mr. Mercury’s part. Sacha Baron Cohen dropped out of the role in 2013 because of creative differences with the band, including the guitarist Brian May. “Brian May is an amazing musician. But he’s not a great movie producer,” Mr. Baron Cohen said on “The Howard Stern Show” in 2016. (Mr. May responded harshly, saying of Mr. Baron Cohen, “He went off and told untruths about what happened.”) Ben Whishaw was also set to star and then dropped out, and names including Dexter Fletcher and David Fincher circled the project.
Now, the band appears to have its lead and its director. “Rami has great presence and he’s utterly dedicated to the project,” Mr. May and the drummer Roger Taylor said in a joint statement. “He’s completely living and breathing Freddie already, which is wonderful.”
The statement said that Queen’s memorable performance at Live Aid in 1985 would be “faithfully recreated” in the film, and that casting for the rest of the band would be announced at a later date.
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