Freddie Mercury biographical film confirms lead and gains writer
Every major musical artist since the dawn of time has been getting a biographical film announced about them, or maybe even five in some cases, however next to none of them actually get made because of song rights. You see the estate and/or the surviving relatives hold the rights to the songs and if they don't like the way the film is going, they can pull the songs.
So it was no surprise that we heard that there was a Freddie Mercury film in production, but that was way back in November 2006. A month later the rumour mill said that Johnny Depp was set to play the man, but then come May 2007 a new actor was rumoured to be playing the role, and finally today he is announced.
"SOMEBODY TO LOVE by Michael Cunningham
The story of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury
AGENT: Creative Artists Agency - Sally Willcox
Tribeca Films producing."
However that doesn't seem to be the film that's being talked about today, unless the excellent screenwriter Peter Morgan has picked up the Michael Cunningham script to rewrite it, this looks like an entirely new film about the lead singer of Queen. It's good news for the script though for Morgan is an excellent writer, and there's the cheap pun of him already haven written The Queen.
Yet the big news announcement today isn't really news since it was over three years ago when we were first told about the possibility of Sacha Baron Cohen to play Mercury, well I guess it was a much better choice than the idea of Johnny Depp.
The good news of this production is that the production companies behind it include Queen's Films and that a package of rights has already been purchased to some of the biggest songs from the band including Bohemian Rhapsody, We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions , Another One Bites The Dust and You're My Best Friend.
According to the story the Morgan script will follow the forming of the band up until the Live Aid appearance, and that's a fair amount to cover. There's also something very major here to consider. Is Cohen going to sing?
Sure, he does have quite similar looks to the great Freddie Mercury, and he is good at playing flamboyant characters who have a unique personality, and that too could be said of Mercury, but will he be able to sing and carry the range that Mercury did? I really don't believe so, and that would mean that he would be miming all the musical numbers, something that could well turn out to divide fans.
While no one wants a half hearted performance of Mercury and his singing, at the same time miming musical numbers can look fake and contrived. The article suggests that all this will be decided when a director for the film is found.
There's also the question of if Morgan's script will delve into the personal side of Freddie Mercury, the darker side away from the spotlight, and if Cohen will be able to handle that kind of performance.
Personally I think he will be able to as comic actors are so often much better at dramatic roles than anyone would think, but it does depend which way the script goes.