Ben Whishaw to play Freddie Mercury

A new movie about Queen frontman Freddie Mercury (left) will see Ben Whishaw play the star. Photo / Getty Images
A new movie about Queen frontman Freddie Mercury (left) will see Ben Whishaw play the star. Photo / Getty Images

James Bond star Ben Whishaw is to play Freddie Mercury in a forthcoming movie about the flamboyant Queen star.

Whishaw's casting ends months of speculation that has raged since Ali G star Sacha Baron Cohen pulled out of the role in July. Queen drummer Roger Taylor added further intrigue in a TV interview on Friday when he said that an actor with the initials 'BW' was the frontrunner. Last night sources close to the film, which is being produced by the surviving members of Queen, confirmed Whishaw had landed the part.

Baron Cohen pulled out citing creative differences with Queen. They are said to have disagreed with his view that the film should focus on the singer's wild lifestyle and thought his association with characters Ali G and Borat may distract attention away from the achievements of Mercury, who died in 1991. Taylor said: "We didn't want it to be a joke."

A string of actors, including Dominic Cooper and Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, have since been linked with the role.

Whishaw, 33, who is in a civil partnership, played Q in the 007 film Skyfall. He previously portrayed Keith Richards in Stoned, the 2005 film about Rolling Stone Brian Jones.

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