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‘Skyfall’ Star Ben Whishaw Is Queen’s Top Pick to Play Freddie Mercury

Ben Whishaw Freddie Mercury
Stuart C. Wilson, Getty Images

Sacha Baron Cohen dropped out, Daniel Radcliffe was never in talks, so who’s next in line to take Freddie Mercury‘s crown in the upcoming biopic? The band Queen, who’s been behind the film every step of the way, has their pick; if everything works out, we could see ‘Skyfall‘ star Ben Whishaw take the lead.

Appearing on BBC’s ‘The One Show,’ Queen drummer Roger Taylor revealed that Whishaw is the band’s top pick to portray their late-frontman, Freddie Mercury. “We’re hoping for a guy with B.W. initials,” he said, shortly after clarifying the actor’s name. Recently, Whishaw starred as Daniel Craig‘s gadget and tech guy, Q, in the latest installment of the James Bond franchise, ‘Skyfall,’ in addition to roles in ‘Cloud Atlas’ and ‘The Zero Theorem.’

Although Daniel Radcliffe recently stated that the rumor about him being in talks for the role was simply “ridiculous,” Sacha Baron Cohen, who was originally attached to star, was revealed to have parted ways with the project over more than just issues with the overall vision. Shortly after his departure, the ‘Hugo’ and ‘The Dictator’ star was reported to have clashed with Queen over how raunchy the biopic would go. Freddie Mercury, after all, was heavy into the partying scene, and was diagnosed with and died from AIDS. However, according to Queen guitarist Brian May, the problem was slightly more involved.

“It’s quite difficult to talk about because we owe Sacha a lot,” said May to Classic Rock Magazine. “He had so much enthusiasm for the project and it really helped us kick it into the start position. But in the end we felt that his presence in the movie would be very distracting,” noting the actor’s last three films, ‘Les Miserables,’ ‘Hugo’ and ‘The Dictator.’ “… He makes outstanding performances, but they’re very much Sacha Baron Cohen performances. And we thought there has to be no distraction in the Freddie movie.”

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