EXCLUSIVE: The pieces are being put back together the pieces of the movie on Queen and the band’s iconic lead singer Freddie Mercury. The project has been adrift since Sacha Baron Cohen pulled out over creative differences with the surviving members of the band. GK Films has hired as its new writer Anthony McCarten, who wrote the terrific script for The Theory Of Everything and got an Oscar nomination doing it. I’m told they are toying with the title Bohemian Rhapsody, the title of one of Queen’s biggest hits and one of the tunes that best demonstrates his singular vocal range. Sony has the right to opt into the project after the studio reads McCarten’s script.
The picture, which had a first draft from Peter Morgan, is still being produced by Graham King’s GK Films with Queen Films. King, who is also producing the untitled Paramount film that Robert Zemeckis will direct with Brad Pitt starring, continues to be the driving force behind this. And the actor they are all still sweet on is Ben Whishaw, who is tearing it up on the screen this fall. He co-starred in the 007 film Spectre, and stars in Suffragette, The Lobster, The Danish Girl and In The Heart Of The Sea.
Nobody would comment for this story, only to tell me there is no deal with Whishaw. But agencies have begun buzzing about this picture again as a plum open directing assignment. Maybe Queen will prove to have one hit left in its arsenal.
McCarten is separately working with Working Title on Darkest Hour, the spec script he wrote about Winston Churchill’s dark days in 1940, when things looked bleakest in his battle to stop the Nazis.