Over the summer it was announced that Sacha Baron Cohen would not, as long reported, be playing Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, after the surviving band members became concerned that the Borat star wouldn’t properly convey a dignity befitting the man who dressed up in bondage gear to sing about girls with thick, fat asses. But the show must go on, to quote a song the world’s demanding to see an actor lip-synch, and now it goes on with Ben Whishaw. Deadline reports that Whishaw—who has experience playing rock stars thanks to I’m Not There, and familiarity with crazy, overblown spectacles thanks to Cloud Atlas—will take the lead role in the as-yet-untitled biopic to be directed by Dexter Fletcher.
Fletcher, who transitioned from acting in movies like Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels to directing the Proclaimers-based musical Sunshine On Leith, is reportedly already busy meeting with Queen and “getting a feel” for its story, which will be told from the band’s earliest beginnings through its 1985 Live Aid performance. (Who will play Phil Collins?! Can Lily Collins play Phil Collins?!) Meanwhile, Whishaw is busy roaming the streets of London, “getting a feel” for mustaches.