A long-awaited Freddie Mercury biopic has stalled again after actor-turned-director Dexter Fletcher walked away from the project, citing creative differences. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels star Fletcher signed on to bring the tragic Queen rocker's life story to the big screen in December (13), with Skyfall actor Ben Whishaw stepping in to replace Sacha Baron Cohen as the flamboyant frontman.
But after just three months, work on the coming-of-age movie has been put on hold again after the filmmaker clashed with producer Graham King, according to Deadline.com. The pair reportedly failed to see eye-to-eye on the direction of the project.
Ironically, Cohen also blamed "creative differences" for his departure from the biopic last summer (Jul13).
A replacement for Fletcher has yet to be announced, but producers are still hoping to start shooting this summer (13).
Surviving Queen members Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon will serve as co-producers on the highly-anticipated Mercury film, which was originally scheduled for release in 2012.
Mercury died from an AIDS-related illness in 1991.
The Queen film has found its frontman. Actor Ben Whishaw has officially been cast as Freddie Mercury in the upcoming Queen biopic. The film will be directed by actor turned director Dexter Fletcher. Whishaw is best known for his role as the new "Q" in the last James Bond film Skyfall, and has also appeared in the Wachowski's genre-sweeping epic Cloud Atlas. Fletcher has acted in several films over the years, but only has a couple of director's credits under his name, including the films Wild Bill and Sunshine On Leith, the latter of which was a musical and should have given Fletcher the experience in working with a film that emphasises music.
According to Deadline, The film will center on the band's formative years and rough beginnings while culminating in Queen's landmark performance at Live-Aid in 1985 which lines the halls of Rock and Roll's most iconic live performances. The film will reportedly not delve into Mercury's final years as he succumbed to complications from AIDS in 1991, but instead go out with the triuphant career-defining performance. The biopic has also gained the right to use an extensive selection of Queen's music including their most popular songs: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions,” “Another One Bites The Dust” and “You’re My Best Friend.”
Whishaw has made a career playing quietly calculating and nebbish individuals, so his casting as the bigger than life Freddie Mercury is interesting one. Mercury is one of pop music's most iconic figures, and Whishaw will have to crank up the bombast to eleven and grow a pretty weighty mustache in order the convincingly portray the Queen frontman's immeasurable stage presence and charisma.
Actor-turned-director Dexter Fletcher has been handed the job of bringing Freddie Mercury back to life on the big screen in a new biopic starring Ben Whishaw as the tragic Queen rocker. Skyfall star Whishaw was tapped as the frontrunner to take over from comedian Sacha Baron Cohen as the flamboyant frontman in October (13), and now his involvement has been confirmed by executives at production firm GK Films.
Sacha Baron Cohen quit the project in July (13), citing "creative differences".
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels actor Fletcher will helm the as-yet-untitled project after impressing movie bosses with his directorial debut, the critically-acclaimed Wild Bill, in 2011, and his subsequent Sunshine on Leith project, a film adaptation of the hit musical featuring the songs of The Proclaimers.
Surviving Queen members Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon will serve as co-producers on the long-awaited Mercury film, which was originally scheduled for release in 2012.
Mercury died from an AIDS-related illness in 1991.
A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.