The development phase of getting a biopic based on the life of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury off the ground has led to such back-and-forth drama that ultimately that may more exciting than anything a filmmaker can conceive. Rivaled, perhaps, with the long-in-the-tooth film treatment of the life of Janis Joplin (there’s recent news on that front as well), a Mercury biography has seen lots many comings and going throughout the years. Maybe, just maybe, we’re inching forward as Deadline reports director Bryan Singer may be coming aboard the project, entitled Bohemian Rhapsody, and it may star Mr. Robot star (and recent Emmy winner) Rami Malek in the lead role of Freddie Mercury.
Long held up at Sony, the film has found a new home with Fox and New Regency, with original producer Graham King still committed to the project with his GK Films banner. Back in the day, the film was looking like it would be a vehicle for Sasha Baron Cohen (Borat), with Oscar nominated scribe Peter Morgan (The Queen) penning the screenplay tacking the life and times Mercury, the Tanzanian-born talent who rose to fame in the 1970s upon forming the seminal rock band Queen; he died at the age of 45 due to AIDS-related complications. Both Cohen and Morgan departed the project due to creative differences and reported tonal divides between the surviving members of Queen. The outlook liked better thereafter when Ben Whishaw (Spectre) become attached to the lead role as well as director Dexter Fletcher (Eddie the Eagle); creative difference again reared its ugly head.
With the jolt of Malek and Singer boarding, perhaps Bohemian Rhapsody will see the light of day after all. Malek, who before breaking out the television drama Mr. Robot appeared in the films Short Term 12 and Need For Speed, is certainly on the rise. He’s currently shooting a remake of Papillon alongside Charlie Hunnam For Singer, the film marks a breather from the blockbustery stage he’s been working on since the first X-Men sixteen years ago; he most recently helmed this past summer’s X-Men: Apocalypse. He is also attached to a remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, another project that has experienced a long gestation period. The current iteration of Bohemian Rhapsody was penned by Oscar nominated writer Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything) but it’s unclear if that’s still in play.
If not for nothing, New Regency may be safer home as the outfit has been on an impressive role in recent years, one that includes Oscar winning hits like 12 Years of Slave, Birdman and The Revenant.
Watch this space.