If it seems like Hollywood has been trying to get a Freddie Mercury biopic off the ground for years, well, that’s probably because Hollywood has been trying to get a Freddie Merecury biopic off the ground for years. Back in 2007, it was rumored that Sacha Baron Cohen had signed on to play the famous lead singer of Queen, kicking off a decade-long futile struggle to get the film made. Over the next ten years, Cohen would officially join the film, quit, potentially rejoin, and then sign the project’s death warrant by officially airing his creative differences with the surviving members of Queen.

And now another actor has thrown his hat into the ring. On Friday, Deadline reported that Mr. Robot star Rami Malek had signed on to play Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody  —  no bonus points for creativity there  —  with director Bryan Singer currently in negotiations to shoot the film. According to the piece, 20th Century Fox is eyeing a quick turnaround on this one, with production set to begin in early 2007.

While not the physical carbon copy of Mercury that Cohen was, Malek is a pretty inspired choice for the role. Sacha Baron Cohen’s gifts as a dramatic actor are underrated, but there’s no denying he comes with some baggage; the fact that he’s spent the majority of his career playing broad comedic characters like Ali G and Borat might cause some people to wonder if his individual celebrity could eclipse the seriousness of the project. Malek, meanwhile, is more of an unknown, a talented actor who has nevertheless is in danger of being pigeonholed as a specific type of character thanks to his success in Mr. Robot. 20th Century Fox needs someone who can disappear into the project while Malek needs a project he can disappear into. Seems like a pretty smart match to me.

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