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Dexter Fletcher to helm Queen biopic with Ben Whishaw as Freddie Mercury

12.09.2013

Ben Whishaw is the killer Queen.

The actor has been tapped to play the role of legendary frontman Freddie Mercury. The biopic has also snagged Dexter Fletcher as the helmer. If Fletcher's name rang any bells in your noggin, you might know him best as "Soap" in Guy Ritchie's LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS. Acting isn't his only trade. Fletcher directed 2011's WILD BILL and recently completed directing duties on the broadway musical SUNSHINE ON LEITH.

The actor and helmer have met with the members of Queen to discuss the story, and the plan is to get the movie going by next year whether Sony steps in or not. I'd also like to note that this now seems to be more of Queen story than one centered on Mercury.

Here's what the film will cover with a script from Peter Morgan (FROST/NIXON, RUSH):

"The pic will tell the formative coming-of-age story of the group, culminating in Queen headlining Live Aid in 1985. Queen’s performance is considered one of rock’s all-time great concert appearances. Mercury died November 24, 1991, of complications from AIDS, and while his death helped to remove the stigma of AIDS sufferers prevalent at that time and particularly in the rock music industry, Mercury’s last days won’t be the subject of the film. Script is by Peter Morgan and King’s producing with Tim Headington and Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal’s Tribeca Productions, and Queen Films. Among the tunes that are in the rights package are “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions,” “Another One Bites The Dust” and “You’re My Best Friend.”

As for Whishaw, he's a great actor. Not to mention that he's been done the musician thing before: once as Bob Dylan in I'M NOT THERE and then had a turn as Keith Richards in STONED. While I really wanted Sacha Baron Cohen for the role, I'd like to see what Whishaw can do with it.

Extra Tidbit: SUNSHINE ON LEITH is the name of The Proclaimer's 1988 album which features the popular song "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)". The musical uses songs from the band. Not only that, but it's the favorite band of the 10th Doctor, David Tennant.
Source: Deadline

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3:42PM on 12/10/2013

Babyface is directing now?

Whishaw was excellent as Richard II in The Hollow Crown.
This will work.
Whishaw was excellent as Richard II in The Hollow Crown.
This will work.
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12:27PM on 12/10/2013

Another note about Dexter Fletcher...

He was also the guy who played the henchman in Kick-Ass who got crushed in the trash compactor. (That's where I first saw him). He also was the father in the dismal 3 Muskateers, that was directed by Paul WS Anderson.

As for Wishaw as Mercury, I'm assuming that they will using makeup and prosthetics to give Wishaw the Mercury 'overbite' that the singer is known for. Cohen probably would have been a very interesting choice, because I do see more of a resemblance, but I'm looking to see what
He was also the guy who played the henchman in Kick-Ass who got crushed in the trash compactor. (That's where I first saw him). He also was the father in the dismal 3 Muskateers, that was directed by Paul WS Anderson.

As for Wishaw as Mercury, I'm assuming that they will using makeup and prosthetics to give Wishaw the Mercury 'overbite' that the singer is known for. Cohen probably would have been a very interesting choice, because I do see more of a resemblance, but I'm looking to see what Wishaw does...as he's shown that he was a capable actor in Skyfall.
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11:56AM on 12/10/2013

This is going to be Notorious 2

It'll be a complete love letter to Mercury that will skip the really ugly parts of his life, the parts his estate and close friends don't want the public to see. I love Queen, I'm not in the business of seeing people slandered on film in inaccurate productions, but if anybody remembers seeing the Notorious B.I.G. biopic where they depicted him as a naive, apologetic momma's boy, then you'll maybe agree that this project seems to be in a similar vein of ass kissing and history rewriting by
It'll be a complete love letter to Mercury that will skip the really ugly parts of his life, the parts his estate and close friends don't want the public to see. I love Queen, I'm not in the business of seeing people slandered on film in inaccurate productions, but if anybody remembers seeing the Notorious B.I.G. biopic where they depicted him as a naive, apologetic momma's boy, then you'll maybe agree that this project seems to be in a similar vein of ass kissing and history rewriting by omission.
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6:24AM on 12/10/2013

Cohen was a big loss but Whishaw is no slouch

My favourite Ben Whishaw performance was in Perfume: The Story of A Murderer. He was absolutely fantastic in that one. It really does showcase his range. I'm hip to this news!
My favourite Ben Whishaw performance was in Perfume: The Story of A Murderer. He was absolutely fantastic in that one. It really does showcase his range. I'm hip to this news!
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3:50AM on 12/10/2013
He does look a bit like Freddie Mercury.
He does look a bit like Freddie Mercury.
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11:50PM on 12/09/2013
This is great news! While I do think that Cohen is the perfect choice to play Mercury, I also think that Whishaw is a far superior actor. He blew me away in Perfume and I'm Not There, and was also very good in Cloud Atlas and Skyfall. This is the first good news I've heard on this project in a while, and I'll definitely be checking it out now.
This is great news! While I do think that Cohen is the perfect choice to play Mercury, I also think that Whishaw is a far superior actor. He blew me away in Perfume and I'm Not There, and was also very good in Cloud Atlas and Skyfall. This is the first good news I've heard on this project in a while, and I'll definitely be checking it out now.
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11:13PM on 12/09/2013
Still skeptical about this. I know they don't want to make it rated R but I think that is the only way this movie will work. Cohen was the best choice.
Still skeptical about this. I know they don't want to make it rated R but I think that is the only way this movie will work. Cohen was the best choice.
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12:04AM on 12/10/2013
That's the only way it will work? Really? I disagree. Not a subject that requires excessive violence or cursing. It's not like Queen was known for being a crazy party band, or requires a ton of nudity. Just a serious take - hardly a mandatory R rating. PG13 will likely suit this just fine.
That's the only way it will work? Really? I disagree. Not a subject that requires excessive violence or cursing. It's not like Queen was known for being a crazy party band, or requires a ton of nudity. Just a serious take - hardly a mandatory R rating. PG13 will likely suit this just fine.
8:37AM on 12/10/2013
If it's going to be about a Rockstar like Freddie Mercury, It should be rated R. This isn't a Justin Beiber movie. This is about one of the greatest front men that ever lived. The man drank, did drugs and had sex with dude's. I'm sure some of his life was PG-13, but not the good parts. I mean, the man liked his cocaine. Are you gonna leave out all scenes of him doing coke to get a PG-13 rating? Hell no! I want to see a very well done movie from early life to death and IMO, it can't be properly
If it's going to be about a Rockstar like Freddie Mercury, It should be rated R. This isn't a Justin Beiber movie. This is about one of the greatest front men that ever lived. The man drank, did drugs and had sex with dude's. I'm sure some of his life was PG-13, but not the good parts. I mean, the man liked his cocaine. Are you gonna leave out all scenes of him doing coke to get a PG-13 rating? Hell no! I want to see a very well done movie from early life to death and IMO, it can't be properly done with a PG-13 rating.
10:55PM on 12/09/2013

I suspect that's where Cohen parted ways with this movie

He wanted it to be about Mercury while Queen wanted it to be about the band. I liked Ben Whishaw in CLOUD ATLAS; I hope he does well in the role.
He wanted it to be about Mercury while Queen wanted it to be about the band. I liked Ben Whishaw in CLOUD ATLAS; I hope he does well in the role.
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10:26PM on 12/09/2013
I still think Sacha Baron Cohen would have been perfect for the role.
I still think Sacha Baron Cohen would have been perfect for the role.
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10:22PM on 12/09/2013
I had not figured him as a potential Freddie (always thought they'd go with Dominic Cooper) but I'm curious as to how this will turn out. Whishaw is an interesting actor and I enjoyed his work in Skyfall and Cloud Atlas. Hopefully he can handle the singing well enough.
I had not figured him as a potential Freddie (always thought they'd go with Dominic Cooper) but I'm curious as to how this will turn out. Whishaw is an interesting actor and I enjoyed his work in Skyfall and Cloud Atlas. Hopefully he can handle the singing well enough.
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10:27PM on 12/09/2013
Dominic Cooper would have been good.
Dominic Cooper would have been good.
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