Who Wants to Live Forever? Ben Whishaw May Play Queen's Legendary Freddie Mercury in New Film


Ben Whishaw in a snazzy suit in "The Hour" (Photo: © Laurence Cendrowicz / Kudos)
It appears that The Hollow Crown star Ben Whishaw may be about to play a different sort of royalty – the rock music kind. Rumor has it that Whishaw, who recently starred as Q in Bond film Skyfall, among other assorted and varied roles, is the frontrunner to play legendary Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury in a biopic about his often tumultuous, and ultimately tragic, life.

Per The Hollywood Reporter, Queen drummer Roger Taylor, who is currently doing British press for his new solo album, revealed this news after being asked about the status of the project on BBC evening chat program The One Show. Taylor has been overseeing the Mercury biopic project for several years with bandmate Brian May and apparently the pair have been rather hard to impress when it comes to casting. But, when asked who he hoped might take on the role, Taylor revealed that the actor the band was most hoping to snag had the initials B and W. When pressed whether he meant Whishaw, Taylor replied “Well, we hope so.” 

Infamous comedian Sacha Baron Cohen (yes, of Borat fame) was initially attached to play Mercury, but dropped out of the film in July due to creative differences with the band, who are producing the film.

May, in an interview with Classic Rock magazine, also talked about why Cohen and the project parted company: "We [the band] felt that his presence in the movie would be very distracting," referencing the star's "outstanding performances in The Dictator, Les Miserables and Hugo as being "very much Sacha Baron Cohen performances."

"And we thought there has to be no distraction in the Freddie movie,” May continued. You have to really suspend that disbelief. The man who plays Freddie -- you have to really believe is Freddie. And we didn't feel that could really happen with Sacha."

Well, allrighty then.

Given that Whishaw also has a far amount of experience playing real life figures – and even a rock star if his turn as one of the many facets of Bob Dylan in I’m Not There is anything to go by – he could do some serious justice to playing Mercury. Plus, he’s a fantastic actor. Even if this isn’t a role we might have never guessed he would do. But, that’s what makes it interesting, right?

Of course, none of this is anything more than wishful thinking on the band’s part at this point – and Taylor’s comments give no idea when this film might ever get made, or whether there are any plans afoot to actually offer Whishaw the role. So we’ll have to wait and see what happens, but at least having the band members agree on a candidate for the lead role seems promising.

What do you think? Would like to see Whishaw as Mercury?