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.
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.
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.
British director Stephen Frears has reportedly emerged as the frontrunner to helm an upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic, which means he might be going from The Queen to...Queen.
The long-in-the-works, still-untitled film will star Sacha Baron Cohen as the beloved singer, who died from complications of AIDS in 1991 at the age of 45. Graham King, who has a hand in seemingly every high-profile movie this century (including last year's Hugo, which starred Cohen), will produce, with biopic veterans Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson (Ali, Nixon) responsible for the most recent iteration of the screenplay.
Surviving members of the rock band, including Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon, are said to be cooperating with licensing Queen's hit songs (i.e., "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "We Will Rock You") for the film, which is expected to focus more on Mercury's rise and stardom than his dark days and eventual passing.
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Boy band and pop heartthrobs 'N Sync will be performing the American national anthem at the Winter Olympics closing ceremony Sunday, accompanied by the biggest fireworks display ever seen in the U.S. The some 2,500 athletes will finally be able to party it up after surviving the tight security throughout most of the 17-day Olympics. They'll dance all night to the music of KISS, Gloria Estefan, Bon Jovi, Moby and Christina Aguilera.
"The tone of the closing ceremony will be completely different; it will be more of a celebration to entertain the athletes," producer Don Mischer told journalists on Saturday.
One hundred of the world's top photojournalists, armed with digital cameras, are canvassing 53 African states Feb. 28 to bring back photos for a book entitled A Day in the Life of Africa. The proceeds from the book will help fight against the AIDS epidemic, which currently runs rampant in the African continent.
Texas Ranger relief pitcher John Rocker will leave the mound temporarily to play a homicidal maniac in the upcoming slasher flick The Greenskeeper. The story focuses on a group of teens (who else?) who gather at a country club for a party and start getting bumped off by a greenskeeper armed with golf course tools. Can we say Caddyshack gone bad?
Former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, a.k.a. Posh, and soccer star husband David are expecting their second child in September. The couple have a 2-year-old son, Brooklyn.
Two thumbs up for Roger. Movie critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times is said to be recovering nicely after having his thyroid gland removed Friday after a cancerous growth was found. "He is expected to make a complete recovery," Ebert's doctor told The Associated Press.
Director Spike Lee will be directing three 30-second spots to help the financially ailing K-mart discount stores, which filed for Chapter 11 last month due to stringent competition from Wal-Mart and Target stores. The ad campaign will center on everyday family life with tagline: "K-mart. The Stuff of Life."
French actress Sophie Marceau (Braveheart) was attacked by muggers and had her car stolen in a parking lot of a ritzy Paris suburb, the Le Parisien reported Friday. Marceau, who is four months pregnant, was assaulted sometime early Wednesday morning by five men while she was trying to get into her Volkswagen Passat in the suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine.
The story of the ongoing battle to fight the AIDS virus. The program looks at the most promising research from the scientific community and tells the story of the battle for a cure through the experiences of patients.