The long-planned Freddie Mercury biopic apparently is set to move forward with a new screenwriter. Deadline reports that GK Films, the company that's co-producing the movie, has hired Anthony McCarten, who wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay to the 2014 Steven Hawking biographical flick The Theory of Everything.
Ben Whishaw, who has played the character Q in the last two James Bond films, 2012's Skyfall and this year's Spectre, remains the front runner to portray the late Queen frontman, although he hasn't been confirmed for the role. Sacha Baron Cohen previously had been hired to play Mercury, but by 2013 he was no longer connected to the project.
Queen guitarist Brian May posted a message on his official website, BrianMay.com, claiming that the Deadline article got some information correct, while missing the mark on other points. May noted that Deadline's suggestion that Cohen exited the film over creative differences was inaccurate.
"It was our decision. We simply realized that we wouldn't get the believable portrayal of Freddie Mercury we needed from Sacha, so we, as considerately and diplomatically as we could, moved on," May wrote.
He added, "Sacha is a great comedy character creator, but we need someone who will actually 'suspend disbelief' so that we believe we are really watching Freddie on screen."
Brian went on to explain that he and the other producers are hoping Whishaw "will turn out to be the man to bring Freddie to life."
As for McCarten, May says the screenwriter "is now doing some fantastic work, collaborating closely with us."
The guitar legend finishes by pointing out, "There are some radical new developments in ideas, and at this moment I'm more excited than I've ever been about the film's potential." He adds that with regard to official confirmed details about the movie, "We'll make an announcement when we're ready. It may be soon."
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