Out Actor Ben Whishaw to Play Freddie Mercury in Biopic

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Tuesday December 10, 2013

British actor Ben Whishaw, who is openly gay, has been confirmed to star as Queen singer Freddie Mercury in the upcoming biopic directed by Dexter Fletcher, the U.K. newspaper the Independent reports.

Rumors surfaced in October that Whishaw, 33, would play Mercury when Queen drummer Roger Taylor said he hoped the band could secure him for the yet unnamed film.

Whishaw reportedly signed for the role, replacing Sacha Baron Cohen who left the project in the summer after much drama - some sources cited creative differences between the actor and the members of Queen but Taylor said, "We felt Sacha probably wasn't right in the end. We didn't want it to be a joke. We want people to be moved."

In September there was speculation that Daniel Radcliffe was offered the role but the "Harry Potter" actor dismissed the rumors.

"There is no truth to it at all," Radcliffe said. "It's one of those very, very funny things -- it came out of a story in the Daily Star and then you see newspapers like The Guardian using The Star as their source, and it grows and grows [until] it's 'Dan Radcliffe is playing Freddie Mercury,' which I was never going to do.

"Everyone on the internet who I presume is saying I'm totally wrong for that part is correct," Radcliffe, who has been a supporter of LGBT rights in the past, added. "I am completely wrong for that part."

According to the Independent, the Mercury biopic will "tell the coming of age story of the band, culminating in Queen's headline performance at Live Aid in 1985."

The singer died of complications from AIDS in 1991 but his last days will not be part of the film.

Whishaw is best known for his roles in "Skyfall," "Cloud Atlas," and the BBC TV series, "The Hour." He is set to star as Herman Melville in "The Heart of the Sea," a film about the whale attack that inspired the novel "Moby Dick."