Iconic rocker Freddie Mercury is getting the big-screen treatment, with Mr. Robot‘s Rami Malek set to play him. The biopic, currently titled Bohemian Rhapsody, will be directed by X-Men‘s Bryan Singer.
Singer announced the news on his Instagram.
The announcement kicks-off the long-awaited project, which has been in development for the last 8 years. After being attached to star in the film for years, Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen dropped out due to creative differences in 2013. Cohen says he wanted a more realistic, R-rated look at both the band and Mercury’s life, but the band wanted it to be PG.
“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,” Cohen told Howard Stern earlier this year, “why wouldn’t you depict yourself as great as possible?”
The original script, written by Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon), would have followed the band even after Mercury ‘s death. The most recent script is by Theory of Everything‘s Anthony McCarten.
Malek has had a great year playing Elliot Anderson in USA Network’s psychological drama Mr. Robot. He won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in September. His film credits include this year’s Buster’s Mal Heart, which premiered in Toronto. He is currently shooting the Papillon remake with Charlie Hunnam.
Singer also had a busy year. His fifth movie in the X-Men franchise, X-Men: Apocalypse, grossed $543.9 million worldwide this summer. He’s also been working on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, another long-awaited project.
Mercury, along with Brian May and Roger Taylor, formed Queen in 1970. He died in 1991 due to AIDS complications. May and Taylor have continued recording, with American singer Adam Lambert joining them for sold out shows since 2012. They will also serve as music producers on the film.
The film will hopefully begin shooting early next year.