English actor Ben Whishaw may be moving from playing crusading journalist Freddie Lyon on BBC’s The Hour (a great series that was cancelled prematurely) to portraying glamorous Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. That is, if the band gets their way.
In an appearance on BBC’s The One Show, Queen drummer Roger Taylor revealed that he was hoping for an actor with the initials B.W. in the role. When one of the hosts pressed him if he was referring to the Skyfall and Cloud Atlas actor, Taylor confirmed this, saying “We hope so.”
Roger Taylor added that Sacha Baron Cohen, who had been signed to the role for a prolonged pre-production period, was not right for the part. “We didn’t want it to be a joke,” Taylor said about the Borat star. “The man who plays Freddie, you have to really believe is Freddie. And we didn’t think that could really happen with Sacha.”
Ben Whishaw is not the only young English actor to be rumoured for the extravagant part. Dominic Cooper was speculated to be the frontrunner for the role a few weeks ago and Daniel Radcliffe was also mentioned, although that was likely just fodder for tabloid journalists (the actor even admitted he would be wrong for the part).
An acclaimed actor of the English stage – his role as Hamlet at the Old Vic Theatre in 2004 garnered him rave reviews – Ben Whishaw is no stranger to filling in big shoes. He revitalized the role of Q in Skyfall and is slated to return as the Quartermaster for the next Bond film. He also drew critical acclaim for his roles in the terrific but little-seen Bright Star and Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.
If Ben Whishaw gets the coveted role, it will not be the first time he plays a beloved rock icon. He was one of six actors who took on a Bob Dylan persona in I’m Not There, alongside Heath Ledger and Cate Blanchett.
Do you think Ben Whishaw is the right actor to play Freddie Mercury? If not, who would you suggest for the part?