After languishing in development for several years, the Queen biopic now entitled Bohemian Rhapsody is finally moving forward. Mr. Robot star Rami Malek has signed on to play the iconic Queen front man Freddie Mercury, with Bryan Singer entering negotiations to direct. 20th Century Fox and New Regency have now picked up the project, with Graham King’s GK Films producing, putting it on the fast track to production.
Deadline reports that Anthony McCarten (The Theory Of Everything) wrote the latest version of the screenplay, which has seen several incarnations over the years. The project was originally set up at Sony Pictures with Sacha Baron Cohen originally set to play Freddie Mercury. He had been attached to star as Freddie Mercury for six years, before leaving the project in 2013.
There was also a version of this story in the works with Ben Whishaw set to play Freddie Mercury, and Dexter Fletcher (Eddie the Eagle) set to direct, but that never moved forward. Oddly enough, Queen’s manager revealed last March that Sacha Baron Cohen was not only coming back to star, but he has also agreed to write, direct and produce the biopic, but it seemed that never happened either. With Bryan Singer in talks to direct, 20th Century Fox and New Regency are hoping to start filming in early 2017.
No details were given about Anthony McCarten’s version of the script, or how it has changed from the previous incarnations. Sacha Baron Cohen revealed in interviews that he left the project because he wanted to make an R-rated movie that explored the singer’s homosexual lifestyle, but the band wanted to make a family-friendly tale. Original Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor are still involved in the project, serving as music producers.
Graham King will produce under his GK Films banner along with Queen’s manager, Jim Beach. Bryan Singer most recently directed the superhero sequel X-Men: Apocalypse before taking on this Queen biopic. He is also developing 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for 20th Century Fox, but it isn’t clear when that may move forward. Aside from The Theory of Everything, Anthony McCarten has written director Joe Wright’s upcoming Darkest Hour, starring Gary Oldman, and a pair of films for director Justin Kurzel, The Siege and Haven. Rami Malek, who won an Emmy for his portrayal of Elliot Alderson on USA’s Mr. Robot, is currently filming the Papillon remake alongside Charlie Hunnam. Hopefully we’ll find out more about Bohemian Rhapsody in the very near future.