EXCLUSIVE: Bryan Singer is in talks to direct Bohemian Rhapsody, the long-in-the-works movie about the seminal British rock band Queen, with Mr. Robot‘s Rami Malek playing frontman Freddie Mercury. The film is coming back together and is on the fast track at 2oth Century Fox and New Regency with original producer Graham King and his GK Films.
Fox and New Regency have stepped up for the joint project in the latest maneuver for a movie that has been in development with King for eight years. The most recent script, which focuses on the band and its iconic lead singer, is from The Theory of Everything scribe Anthony McCarten. King and Jim Beach are producers, and Denis O’Sullivan is exec producer. Original Queen bandmembers Brian May and Roger Taylor will serve as music producers. It’s being eyed to shoot early next year.
On the film side, Singer has been busy guiding Fox’s X-Men franchise, most recently this summer’s X-Men: Apocalypse, which grossed $543.9 million worldwide, and he also has been working on another long-in-the works project for Fox, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. He’s been in tentpole mode with these, so this pic would be a return to a more character-driven territory like with The Usual Suspects and Apt Pupil. He’s repped by WME and attorney Dave Feldman.
Malek won the Lead Drama Actor Emmy this summer as the star of USA Network’s hit hacker series Mr Robot. His film credits include this year’s Buster’s Mal Heart, which was at Toronto, and he was in Short Term 12 with Brie Larson. He’s now shooting the Papillon remake with Charlie Hunnam. Malik is with WME and Brillstein Entertainment.
Previous incarnations of the project originally had been rooted at Sony. Sacha Baron Cohen had been aboard as Mercury and Peter Morgan writing, before creative differences scotched that plan. Later, Ben Whishaw was to star with Dexter Fletcher directing, but more creative issues nixed that team-up.
King won the Best Picture Oscar for The Departed, and next up for his GK Films is the Robert Zemeckis-helmed Allied at Paramount starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, which bows November 23.
Fox and New Regency, of course, teamed on back-to-back Oscar Best Picture winners in 12 Years a Slave and Birdman, and most recently The Revenant, which earned Leonardo DiCaprio a Best Actor Oscar and Alejandro G. Iñárritu his second consecutive Best Director Oscar.