Ben Whishaw to Replace Sacha Baron Cohen in Freddie Mercury Biopic

Ben Whishaw to Replace Sacha Baron Cohen in Freddie Mercury Biopic
The long-in-the-works biopic on legendary Queen frontman Freddie Mercury faced a setback earlier this fall when it was announced actor Sacha Baron Cohen had left the project. The production is picking up steam again, though, with news that the flick has roped in actor Ben Whishaw (Cloud Atlas, Skyfall) to play Mercury, while also confirming filmmaker Dexter Fletcher (Sunshine on Leith) will direct.

According to Deadline, Fletcher has been meeting with the surviving members of Queen to discuss the direction of the film, described as a coming-of-age story that observes Mercury's rise to rock stardom up to Queen's headlining performance at Live Aid 1985. Mercury later died of AIDS-related complications in 1991. Apparently, the plan is to have the film out in 2014.

When Cohen had been let go from the project, Queen drummer Roger Taylor had theorized about the move: "We felt Sacha probably wasn't right in the end. We didn't want it to be a joke. We want people to be moved."

While rumours had been swirling around that Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe was in contention for the role, dramatic actor Whishaw has apparently won the gig.

The as-yet-untitled film project's script is being handled by Peter Morgan and will be produced by GK Films, Tribeca Productions and Queen Films. Queen classics that have been licensed to the film are said to include "Bohemian Rhapsody," "We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions," "Another One Bites the Dust" and "You're My Best Friend."