Queen guitarist Brian May is disappointed the band's former bassist John Deacon will not be involved in the forthcoming Freddie Mercury biopic. Deacon features on all of the group's 15 albums but has refused to appear alongside remaining bandmates May and Roger Taylor since 1997, missing out on their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction and their performance at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The retired bassist has read and approved the script for the film, which is based on Mercury's life and stars Ben Whishaw as the tragic frontman, but he does not want to be involved in the project.
May tells Rolling Stone, "John doesn't want to be (involved). He's in his own space and we respect that. It's a shame, because we would love to have him around but he doesn't want to be in that arena anymore... he just doesn't want to be walking those roads.
"We kinda (sic) mourn for John as well as Freddie in a sense because there ain't nobody quite like John on those four strings. He's an amazing player and it was just the companionship, as part of the group. Hopefully you'll see that in the film - the relationships we've had were very strong. I do know John's read the script and he's in approval."
Considering that every award show leading up to the Academy Awards helps predict who will take home the Oscar in each category, it's quite a good sign for both American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave that each film received 13 nominations for the 19th Critics' Choice Movie Awards.
American Hustle grabbed nods for Best Picture, Best Actor (Christian Bale), Best Supporting Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Best Acting Ensemble, Best Director (David O. Russell), Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, Best Comedy, Best Actor in a Comedy (Christian Bale), and Best Actress in a Comedy (Amy Adams). And 12 years a Slave nabbed nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong'o), Best Acting Ensemble, Best Director (Steve McQueen), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, and Best Score.
Not far behind in the nominations race is Gravity with 10 nods and Captain Phillips, Her, Nebraska, and The Wolf of Wall Street with six each.
The Critics Choice Awards ceremony will be hosted by Aisha Tyler on The CW Jan. 16 at 8 PM.
Best PictureAmerican HustleCaptain PhillipsDallas Buyers ClubGravityHerInside Llewyn DavisNebraskaSaving Mr. Banks12 Years a SlaveThe Wolf of Wall Street
Best ActorChristian Bale – American HustleBruce Dern – NebraskaChiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a SlaveTom Hanks – Captain PhillipsMatthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers ClubRobert Redford – All Is Lost
Best ActressCate Blanchett – Blue JasmineSandra Bullock – GravityJudi Dench – PhilomenaBrie Larson – Short Term 12Meryl Streep – August: Osage CountyEmma Thompson – Saving Mr. Banks
Best Supporting ActorBarkhad Abdi – Captain PhillipsDaniel Bruhl – RushBradley Cooper – American HustleMichael Fassbender – 12 Years a SlaveJames Gandolfini – Enough SaidJared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
Best Supporting ActressScarlett Johansson – HerJennifer Lawrence – American HustleLupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a SlaveJulia Roberts – August: Osage CountyJune Squibb – NebraskaOprah Winfrey – Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Best Young Actor/ActressAsa Butterfield – Ender’s GameAdele Exarchopoulos – Blue Is the Warmest ColorLiam James – The Way Way BackSophie Nelisse – The Book ThiefTye Sheridan – Mud
Best Acting EnsembleAmerican HustleAugust: Osage CountyLee Daniels’ The ButlerNebraska12 Years a SlaveThe Wolf of Wall Street
Best DirectorAlfonso Cuaron – GravityPaul Greengrass – Captain PhillipsSpike Jonze – HerSteve McQueen – 12 Years a SlaveDavid O. Russell – American HustleMartin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street
Best Original ScreenplayEric Singer and David O. Russell – American HustleWoody Allen – Blue JasmineSpike Jonze – HerJoel Coen & Ethan Coen – Inside Llewyn DavisBob Nelson – Nebraska
Best Adapted ScreenplayTracy Letts – August: Osage CountyRichard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke – Before MidnightBilly Ray – Captain PhillipsSteve Coogan and Jeff Pope – PhilomenaJohn Ridley – 12 Years a SlaveTerence Winter – The Wolf of Wall Street
Best CinematographyEmmanuel Lubezki – GravityBruno Delbonnel – Inside Llewyn DavisPhedon Papamichael – NebraskaRoger Deakins – PrisonersSean Bobbitt – 12 Years a Slave
Best Art DirectionAndy Nicholson (Production Designer), Rosie Goodwin (Set Decorator) – GravityCatherine Martin (Production Designer), Beverley Dunn (Set Decorator) – The Great GatsbyK.K. Barrett (Production Designer), Gene Serdena (Set Decorator) – HerDan Hennah (Production Designer), Ra Vincent (Set Decorator) – The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugAdam Stockhausen (Production Designer), Alice Baker (Set Decorator) – 12 Years a Slave
Best EditingAlan Baumgarten, Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers – American HustleChristopher Rouse – Captain PhillipsAlfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger – GravityDaniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill – RushJoe Walker – 12 Years a SlaveThelma Schoonmaker – The Wolf of Wall Street
Best Costume DesignMichael Wilkinson – American HustleCatherine Martin – The Great GatsbyBob Buck, Lesley Burkes-Harding, Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor – The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugDaniel Orlandi – Saving Mr. BanksPatricia Norris – 12 Years a Slave
Best MakeupAmerican HustleThe Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugLee Daniels’ The ButlerRush12 Years a Slave
Best Visual EffectsGravityThe Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugIron Man 3Pacific RimStar Trek into Darkness
Best Animated FeatureThe CroodsDespicable Me 2FrozenMonsters UniversityThe Wind Rises
Best Action MovieThe Hunger Games: Catching FireIron Man 3Lone SurvivorRushStar Trek into Darkness
Best Actor in an Action MovieHenry Cavill – Man of SteelRobert Downey Jr. – Iron Man 3Brad Pitt – World War ZMark Wahlberg – Lone Survivor
Best Actress in an Action MovieSandra Bullock – GravityJennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games: Catching FireEvangeline Lilly – The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugGwyneth Paltrow – Iron Man 3
Best ComedyAmerican HustleEnough SaidThe HeatThis Is the EndThe Way Way BackThe World’s End
Best Actor in a ComedyChristian Bale – American HustleLeonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall StreetJames Gandolfini – Enough SaidSimon Pegg – The World’s EndSam Rockwell – The Way Way Back
Best Actress in a ComedyAmy Adams – American HustleSandra Bullock – The HeatGreta Gerwig – Frances HaJulia Louis-Dreyfus – Enough SaidMelissa McCarthy – The Heat
Best Sci-fi/Horror MovieThe ConjuringGravityStar Trek into DarknessWorld War Z
Best Foreign Language FilmBlue Is the Warmest ColorThe Great BeautyThe HuntThe PastWadjda
Best Documentary FeatureThe Act of KillingBlackfishStories We TellTim’s Vermeer20 Feet from Stardom
Best Song"Atlas" – Coldplay – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"Happy" – Pharrell Williams – Despicable Me 2"Let It Go" – Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez – Frozen"Ordinary Love" – U2 – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"Please Mr. Kennedy" – Justin Timberlake/Oscar Isaac/Adam Driver – Inside Llewyn Davis"Young and Beautiful" – Lana Del Rey – The Great Gatsby
Best ScoreSteven Price – GravityArcade Fire – HerThomas Newman – Saving Mr. BanksHans Zimmer – 12 Years a Slave
Queen star Roger Taylor insists he is not embarrassed by his cross-dressing in the promo for I Want To Break Free, because he is still haunted by his camp performance in another video. The drummer famously played a saucy schoolgirl in the film for the 1984 hit track, but he is adamant donning a tight, shiny outfit complete with an Elizabethan ruff around the neck for a different promo was far worse.
He tells the January (14) issue of Reader's Digest, "Being in Queen has been a lot of fun, but I will admit that we did make some fashion mistakes. Do I regret some of the outfits I wore in the 1980s? Absolutely! Everybody always talks about the video for I Want to Break Free but I have no problems with that at all. That was just us having a laugh.
"The one I really have difficulty watching is It's A Hard Life. Feathers, gold lame and even a... ruff. What were we thinking?"
Rocker Roger Taylor is extra proud of Queen's performance at the 2012 Olympic Games because they were one of the few acts who refused to mime. Taylor and guitarist Brian May were joined onstage by pop star Jessie J for a rendition of the band's classic hit We Will Rock You at the closing ceremony of the sporting showpiece in London last year (12).
Other stars taking part included George Michael, Ray Davies, and a reunited Spice Girls, but Taylor is adamant few of the acts were performing fully live.
He tells the January (14) edition of Reader's Digest, "Queen have played their share of big gigs, but it's difficult to top the Olympic closing ceremony in your own country. It really was a tremendous honour. What was the TV audience for that show? Actually, I don't want to know - it'll freak me out.
"Another thing I remember is that there were a lot of not-live performances that night. (Not mentioning any names.) We were live, of course."
"For 20-odd years, I had the best seat in the house, watching the best frontman in the world. Do we miss him? Of course. Every day." Queen drummer Roger Taylor still misses the band's charismatic singer Freddie Mercury, who died from an AIDS-related illness in 1991.
Flamboyant rock icon Freddie Mercury was so obsessed with his image, he stored his trousers under his mattress to keep them wrinkle-free while he slept. The late Queen legend was known for his magnetic stage presence and his outrageous outfits, but now the band's drummer Roger Taylor has lifted the lid on how the star remained so sharply-dressed.
Taylor tells the January (13) issue of Reader's Digest, "After we formed Queen, he used to come down and stay at my parents' house. Mum loved it. He was always immaculately turned out and she could never understand how he got his trousers so perfectly creased. In fact, after he took them off, he would lay them dead straight under his mattress on the floor. He pressed them while he was sleeping!"
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.
Rocker Brian May has broken his silence about Sacha Baron Cohen's exit from an upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic, revealing the surviving members of Queen feared the comedian's presence would distract fans from the flamboyant frontman's life story. The Ali G star walked away from the project in July (13) after spending months perfecting his vocals for the role, amid rumours he had fallen out with May and Roger Taylor over his planned portrayal of their late friend and bandmate.
Cohen has yet to comment on his reasons for quitting the film, but May has now shed some light on the actor's departure, insisting he just wasn't right for the job.
May tells UltimateClassicRock.com, "In the end, we felt that his presence in the movie would be very distracting.
"What led us to that conclusion was the last three movies that he's made - The Dictator, Les Miserables and Hugo - in which 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. You have to really suspend that disbelief - the man who plays Freddie, you have to really believe is Freddie. And we didn't think that could really happen with Sacha."
However, the guitar icon is adamant claims of a bitter rift between the Queen stars and Cohen are completely unfounded.
He adds, "It's a shame that there were these sensationalist stories about him walking out. None of that was true... We owe Sacha a lot. He had so much enthusiasm for the project and it really helped us kick it into the start position."
Reports suggest James Bond star Ben Whishaw has since been tapped as Cohen's replacement - Taylor hinted at the new casting in a TV interview on Friday (18Oct13), stating that an actor with the initials 'BW' had become the frontrunner for the role.
Two members of Queen — Roger Taylor and Brian May — spoke recently about their hope that Ben Whishaw, a British actor best known for his role as Q in the new James Bond series, is cast as the replacement for Sacha Baron Cohen in the Freddie Mercury biopic currently still in production.
Cohen left the project earlier this year due to what was cited as creative differences about whether the project should be a tame PG or an unflinching R, but in an interview this weekend, May revealed that it might have been more like personality differences: "We thought there has to be no distraction in the Freddie movie. You have to really suspend that disbelief – the man who plays Freddie, you have to really believe is Freddie. And we didn't that could really happen with Sacha."
At the time (and, honestly, even now) it seemed unwise to pass on an actor like Cohen with such a natural resemblence to Mercury and a passion for the project that led him to attach screenwriter Peter Morgan and pursure directors like Tom Hooper and David Fincher. But, in his defense, Whishaw has already played one famous musician (Bob Dylan in I'm Not There) and aquitted himself nicely. And his youth means that he could probably pass as a younger version of Mercury without having to cast another actor.
However, does this mean the "family friendly, PG" version of the project is the one that's going forward? Because while Mercury's life was always deep, varied, and interesting, exploring the darker depths of what it meant for the man to hide/obscure his contraction of HIV/AIDS and grapple with his sexual orientation would not only provide interest to the story, but would help separate Mercury the person (who was notoriously private) and the character in the film.
And honestly, do these two rock stars who came to prominance in the '70s and '80s think that their touring, partying, and overall lifestyle was ever going to be appropriate for a family film? Perhaps Taylor and May should rethink whether or not a film adaptation is really the best way to honor Mercury. The film doesn't have to revel in or exploit the more sordid aspects of the story, but there's also no reason to sell an obviously sanitized version of his life.
James Bond star Ben Whishaw is set to star as Queen's Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic. Ali G star Sacha Baron Cohen had initially been picked to play the flamboyant rock icon, but pulled out of the movie in July (13), citing creative differences.
Now filmmakers have turned to British actor Whishaw to take on the project, which will be produced by the band's surviving members Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon, according to Britain's Daily Mail newspaper.
Taylor hinted at the new casting on Friday (18Oct13), when he stated in a TV interview that an actor with the initials "BW" had become the frontrunner for the role.