Freddie Mercury Biopic Now Has Oscar-Nominated Writer
After more than a year of public inactivity, it appears that the movie about the life of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury is back on. GK Films has hired a new writer, one with impressive credentials.
Deadline is reporting that Anthony McCarten is the new man. He wrote and produced 2014's The Theory of Everything, about the life of famous physicist Stephen Hawking. McCarten was nominated for two Academy Awards, for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.
The project had essentially been on hold since March 2014, when director Dexter Fletcher walked away, citing the usual "creative differences" with the producers, a group that includes Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor. Nobody has since been hired as a director.
They are also without a star, with Sacha Baron Cohen leaving in July 2013, also due to creative differences. It's believed that Cohen, who was also originally hired as the movie's writer, wanted a more realistic depiction of Mercury's life, including his homosexuality, while the producers wanted a sanitized PG version. They have been reportedly looking at Ben Whishaw, who plays Q in the current iteration of the James Bond franchise, to star as Mercury, but no deal has been signed yet.
For his part, May felt that Cohen's fame would have been too much to overcome. “[I]n the end we felt that his presence in the movie would be very distracting,” he said. “[W]e thought there has to be no distraction in the Freddie movie. You have to really suspend that disbelief – the man who plays Freddie, you have to really believe is Freddie. And we didn’t that could really happen with Sacha.”
Back in March, Queen's manager Jim Beach said that Cohen had been re-hired to write, direct, star and produce the movie. However, it was soon revealed that Beach, who was accepting an award at the time, was joking.
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