Ben Whishaw to Play Freddie Mercury in Queen Biopic; Dexter Fletcher to Direct

Published 1 year ago by

Ben Whishaw to play Freddie Mercury Ben Whishaw to Play Freddie Mercury in Queen Biopic; Dexter Fletcher to Direct

Ray Charles got one, John Lennon got one and pretty soon Elton John will be getting one too, so it might be argued that a biopic about rock legend Freddie Mercury is long overdue. Development of the film has been delayed multiple times, but now signs indicate that we could see Mercury’s story told on the big screen as early as 2015.

One of the main issues so for has been that the remaining remembers of Queen are insisting upon the biopic being PG-rated in tone, which means that certain aspects of Mercury’s life would have to be glossed over or omitted altogether. The film will not cover his diagnosis with AIDS or his eventual death, since it would conclude with the band’s Live Aid concert in 1985, and it’s highly doubtful that it could show Mercury’s party lifestyle in too much detail without risking the wrath of the MPAA.

According to Deadline, the film is now going ahead with the script by Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon) that at one point seemed to have been ditched, but presumably will have simply undergone a few changes. Sacha Baron Cohen was originally set to play Mercury and was responsible for bringing Morgan onto the project. He also attracted Oscar-winning directors David Fincher and Tom Hooper, both of whom left the project before Cohen eventually abandoned it as well.

Sunshine on Leith Ben Whishaw to Play Freddie Mercury in Queen Biopic; Dexter Fletcher to Direct

Dexter Fletcher (‘Sunshine on Leith’) is set to direct the biopic

It’s a role that Dominic Cooper was recently rumored to be in talks for, but now the part of Freddie has officially been taken. Deadline reports that Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) will play the singer, and Dexter Fletcher (Wild Bill) will direct the biopic, which is set to begin filming next year regardless of whether or not Sony chooses to take it on as part of the studio’s first look deal with production company GK Films.

Whishaw is a solid choice for the lead and Fletcher has experience making musical movies thanks to his second feature film, Sunshine on Leith, which was a biopic about Scottish band The Proclaimers. Despite the troubled development of Mercury’s biopic so far, this latest news does offer some fresh hope for it.

Perhaps Brian May and co. can be convinced to lift some of the restrictions on the script to avoid the risk of it becoming toothless. After all, Mercury is said to have made the deathbed request, “You can do what you want with my music, but don’t make me boring.”


We’ll keep you updated on the Untitled Freddie Mercury Biopic as development continues.

Source: Deadline

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. not really keen on the casting, bring back Sasha!

    • Sacha wanted it to be rated R.

  2. not a fan of Queen but wasn’t he Indian?

    • Mercury

    • He was a rare one. He was an african born, india educated zoroastrian parsi. Parsis are persian descent. Freddie identified as persian.

      He looked white to most people though. Ben Whishaw with a light tan and some dark contacts would fit the bill. There will be some peope who will complain, but an out gay actor lke Ben actally has bigger ostacles to mainstream lead movie roles than an ethnic actor who looks as white as Freddie did. It’s good to see a major LGBT role going to an out LGBT actor.

      • ah i see, that makes more sense on his look…i was thinking Christian Indian along those lines but i have read about Persian populations in India escaping Muslim invaders

    • Persian, went to boarding school in India at around the age of 7. He was born in Zanzibar and at around the age of 14 he moved to England with his parents and sister.

  3. PG-rated? How can they be serious?

  4. No, it’s not true that a “PG-rated in tone” “means that certain aspects of Mercury’s life would have to be glossed over or omitted altogether”. Ray covered Ray Charles heavy womanizing, heroin addiction and cheating while only being PG-13. PG Walk the Line depicted Johnny Cash as a drug addict throwing over his wife for another woman. Way back years ago PG-13 Forrest Gump had a character pass away from AIDS. All it means is that crass comic Sacha Baron Cohen can’t self-promote himself some more with controversy and exploitive material. The movie doesn’t need an R-rating to indicate what was going on in Mercury’s life, and his friends would have to know he likely wouldn’t want Sacha doing a heavily explicit detailing of his sex life. Freddie off stage was a private guy, and maintaining the air of mystery he liked actually makes someone *more intersting* not boring. His talent, personality and accomplishments are what really set him apart and makes him interesting, not sex acts anybody can do.

    The Mercury movie script was NEVER going to include the AIDS years according to reports, and seeing as Freddie Mercury did everything he could to keep the media and public out of his business when he was sick from AIDS (because according to those who new him he did not want people’s curiosity and pity) I would say his friends are doing right by him in not including that in the bio pic. The evidence suggests that Freddie would not want audiences weeping over some actor (or comic) playing Freddie while trying to cough and gasp his way to an oscar.

  5. I don’t want this to get misconstrued as sounding sarcastic or crass in any way, but Freddie’s later years after the triumphant Live Aid concert are an important story unto themselves (which personally I believe ought to to be told, it’s an inextricable part of the legend). If the film’s decent, and I hope they do the great job Freddie deserves, it would be the first time I can think of that a legitimate sequel to a biography would seem appropriate.

  6. Baron Cohen should have been slated to play the role. He has the knack and uncanny to top Mercury.