We reported in October that Ben Whishaw was being eyed to star as Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury, and now his deal has been finalized. Sacha Baron Cohen had previously been attached to star, but he dropped out in July after creative differences with the band.
Dexter Fletcher has been meeting with band members to get a better feel for the story, which will tell the coming-of-age tale of Freddie Mercury, leading up to Queen's iconic Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium in 1985, which is considered one of the great rock performances of all time. The singer died of AIDS in 1991, although his last days will not be part of the film. However, the film's rights package does come with several popular Queen songs such as "Bohemian Rhapsody," "We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions," "Another One Bites The Dust" and "You're My Best Friend."
Peter Morgan, Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen J. Rivele wrote the screenplay, with production slated to begin next year. GK Films has a first-look deal with Sony Pictures, although the studio has not come on board quite yet.
Dexter Fletcher made his directorial debut last year with Wild Bill, which he followed up with the musical Sunshine on Leith. He is best known for his work as an actor, with roles in Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels, Band of Brothers, Stardust, Kick-Ass and The Three Musketeers. He will next be seen in Muppets Most Wanted.