Rami Malek will continue to question if this is the real life or if it’s just fantasy.
The Emmy-winning star of Mr. Robot is attached to play Freddie Mercury in the long-gestating Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, EW has confirmed. Bryan Singer is in talks to direct the project, which is based on a screenplay by Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything). Brian May and Roger Taylor, both original members of Queen, will serve as music producers.
Sacha Baron Cohen was initially attached to the GK Films production in 2010 but dropped out over creative differences in 2013. Cohen wanted a more realistic, R-rated look at the band and Mercury’s life, while the band preferred going for a PG tone.
“The problem is — and I think it’s with any biopic, and I fully understand why Queen wanted to do this — if you’re in control of your rights and your life story, why wouldn’t you depict yourself as great as possible?” Cohen told Howard Stern earlier this year.
Cohen added that the original story, based on Peter Morgan’s (Frost/Nixon) script, would have followed the band carrying on after Mercury died of AIDS in 1991 at 45 years old. “I said, ‘Listen, not one person is going to see a movie where the lead character dies from AIDS, and then you see the band carry on,'” he told Stern.
Malek is riding high after playing Elliot Alderson for a second season in USA Network’s psychological drama Mr. Robot. The actor, whose credits include Short Term 12 and The Master, won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama in September.
Singer released his fifth X-Men installment, Apocalypse, in May. The superhero movie earned more than $540 million worldwide. He’s also executive producing the upcoming X-Men-adjacent series Legion on FX.
Deadline first reported the news.