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Queen biopic: Ben Whishaw will play Freddie Mercury

Photo: Ben Whishaw and Freddie Mercury.

Dexter Fletcher, who appeared onscreen in Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and recently directed Sunshine on Leith, a musical using The Proclaimers’ catalogue, will direct the much-anticipated Queen biopic.

The feature will tell the story of Queen’s formation and rise to rock superstardom, climaxing with their 1985 Live Aid performance. 

Sacha Baron Cohen had been pegged to play Mercury before being dropped earlier this year in a decision made by Queen band members who have script and director approval.

"What led us to that conclusion [to not have Sacha Baron Cohen play Mercury] was the last three movies that he’s made — The DictatorLes Misérables and Hugo — in which he makes outstanding performances, but they’re very much Sacha Baron Cohen performances,” Queen guitarist Brian May said. “And we 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 think that could really happen with Sacha."

It’s been announced that Ben Whishaw will now play Mercury. Whishaw is also appearing in In the Heart of the Sea with Chris Hemsworth, about the whale attack that inspired Dickens’s Moby Dick

The Queen biopic will include some of the bands greatest hits, including “We Are the Champions,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Another One Bites the Dust."