Ben Whishaw has been confirmed to star in a new Freddie Mercury biopic, replacing Sacha Baron Cohen. The film will be the ‘coming-of-age story of the group,’ according to Deadline.com, ‘culminating in Queen headlining Live Aid in 1985’. Okay, so Sacha Baron Cohen might look the part. But we like this news in five ways:
Ben Whishaw’s got magnetism
Freddie Mercury owned the stage, one of the most flamboyant figures ever to strut his thing at stadium after sell-out stadium around the world. You might think whippety-hipped Ben Whishaw a little on the waify side. But he blazed on stage as Hamlet straight out of drama college. And his slyly funny Q stole the show in ‘Skyfall’.
He’s done it before
Played a rock god, that is. He was Keith Richards in the Rolling Stones film ‘Stoned’ (a bit blink-and-you’d-miss-him this one), and Bob Dylan channelling the French poet Arthur Rimbaud in ‘I’m Not There’.
And he’s already played one great Freddie
In the ‘The Hour’. Whishaw’s half-luvvie, half-oiky reporter was easily the best thing in the Beeb’s retro newsroom drama.
He’s got a shy side
Freddie Mercury was Mr Rock ‘n’ Roll. But friends say that off-stage he was quiet and shy. ‘I’m so powerful on stage that I seem to have created a monster,’ he once said. ‘When I’m performing I’m an extrovert, yet inside I’m a completely different man.’ With his hollow-cheeked vulnerability and a bit of cocksure confidence, we can’t think of another actor who could pull that off as perfectly. Not even Borat.
He likes cats
Freddie Mercury loved cats. On tour, the story goes, he’d phone home and get his cat-sitters to hold the phone so they could hear him talk. Ben Whishaw is also a cat lover, and once had 11 of them. Relevant? Possibly not. But we’d love to see a scene of Freddie on the phone to his furry friends.
Read our interview with Mr Whishaw himself back in April here.