Freddie Mercury film close to director choice?
The film has been a long time coming but word is that the Freddie Mercury biographical film is moving forward and that a director has been rumoured to be leading the race to direct the film.
While we heard a while back that Sacha Baron Cohen was set to take the lead of the film the only other news we have heard since is from the members of Queen who read the script. Now though, there seems to be more movement.
Both Brian May and Roger Taylor revealed that they had read the first draft script for the film and that the production was set to start late 2012, and that sounds as though it's on track for it already.
Variety through Coming Soon have the rumour that the director who is closest to getting the role of helming the film is Stephen Frears, the director of The Queen. Of course the caveats here are the phrases such as "insiders close to the project" - aka tea lady, and "early frontrunner" - aka they've been seen or rumoured to have been seen the most around the studio, are all over the article so there's nothing in there that's fact yet, but the real meat of this story is that the film is moving forward.
If there are rumours about possible directors now then it won't be long before one is chosen and the production starts, and that looks like they could be on track for starting the film this year.
The article also says that Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson are the two who have been responsible for the latest draft of the screenplay, and why should that interest you? Well think Ali and Nixon, and suddenly you realise that they have some very strong experience of bringing the real life stories of famous people to the page and making them dramatic, engaging and real.
It's also interesting that the article reveals Sacha Baron Cohen's deal is not yet secure stating that it "is expected to close in the coming weeks". Now that is interesting, I never really thought that he was the perfect choice for the role and perhaps the film-makers should have mined the talent out there as the production of Notorious did for the lead of Christopher "Biggie" Wallace.
Still, Cohen is a character actor who could surely pull off the physical side of it, although he would undoubtedly be miming the Queen songs as I don't believe he's a Freddie Mercury impersonator as well as his current talents.
As we've already heard this film will follow the formative years of the band Queen and Mercury's life through those years, leading up to the peak of their career as they appeared at Live Aid in 1985. The film won't focus on the final days of Freddie Mercury and instead remember the great talent and the rise of the band.
Where most biographical films of bands and singers fail is the gaining of the rights for the music, and that's where this film has been secure from the beginning, it has the songs and the backing of Queen themselves who have even formed a production company to work on the film, so this is going to be as authentic and as licensed as it gets.
Now I wonder if Cohen will make the final step to signing the contract, or even being offered it, and who will direct the film? Frears would be a good choice as he has films like High Fidelity, Dirty Pretty Things, The Queen and the upcoming Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight on his slate, some of which provide strong indicators of how well a biographical film of Mercury would be. Mind you, it does depend on who else is in the running.