For as long as anyone could remember, comedian and actor Sacha Baron Cohen was attached to the Freddie Mercury biopic. But in 2013, Ben Whishaw (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer) began to be linked to the project. Last November, the project was locked with Mr. Robot actor Rami Malek starring as the rockstar, while Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men) was roped in to direct. The first look of Malek as Mercury was released by Entertainment Weekly on the singer’s 71st birthday on Tuesday.
Titled Bohemian Rhapsody after the Queen song of the same name, Singer’s film will look at Mercury’s journey from the inception of his band to its legendary performance at the 1985 Live Aid. Singer has said that his film will not be a traditional biopic. It will honour Queen’s musical legacy and not just be about “the dark Freddie story”. Mercury’s sexuality was tabloid gossip during his lifetime and he spent the last six years of his life grappling with AIDS.