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50 Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

From a solo Black Panther to a young Han Solo, Spielberg going retro to Barry Jenkins doing James Baldwin – the films we can’t wait to see this year

Another year, another batch of superhero blockbusters, brand-name sequels and big-name movie stars/directors vying for your attention. When you look over the lineup of what’s hitting theaters near you over the next year, however, it’s hard not to get excited. We’re finally getting to feast our eyes on Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther movie and Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time! And witness the all-star Marvel Team-Up that is Avengers: Infinity War! And see how this Muppet-baby chronicle of Han Solo and friends plays out! And being gifted new projects from no less than Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Steve McQueen, Wes Anderson, Barry Jenkins and Spike Lee! Do you notice how many exclamation points are in the introduction?!? We’re pumped!

We’ve managed to whittle down the massive list of upcoming films to the 50 we’re most anxious to check out – from an all-ladies version of the Oceans movies to Lady Gaga’s country-flavored A Star Is Born, a long-awaited Freddie Mercury biopic to some classic horror remakes and a documentary on Stanley Kubrick’s right-hand man. Start marking your calendar now (dates are, of course, subject to change). Welcome to what looks like a bang-up year at the movies.

American director and producer Stanley Kubrick on the set of his film, The Shining.

Murray Close/Getty Images

‘Filmworker’ (Spring 2018)

You may not know the name Leon Vitali. You probably know who Stanley Kubrick is, however, who gave the young, aspiring actor a key role in Barry Lyndon. Later, the director hired him as a sort of his-guy-Friday during the production of The Shining – a function that Vitali continued to perform for his boss regarding his professional obligations and personal obsessions until Kubrick’s death in 1999. Tony Zierra’s docu-portrait is said to be a must-see for those who love arcane Kubrickiana and stories of the private filmmaker’s creative process. But it also sounds like an intriguing character study of a man who can arguably claim to be the auteur’s single biggest fan of them all. DF

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‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (May 4)

The conventional wisdom is that Marvel movies are more lighthearted than their gloomy DC/Warner Bros. peers. But that impression might change after battle royale pitting Stan Lee’s titans against Thanos (Josh Brolin), the intergalactic baddie in search of the all-powerful Infinity Stones. Last fall’s trailer promised a darker, more despairing superhero film – you can tell this movie is serious because Chris Evans’ Captain America is sporting a beard. Plus it features not just the core heroes but everyone from Black Panther to Doctor Strange to the Guardians of the Galaxy. The Avengers invented the idea of the supersized comic-book film. Infinity War is going to be even bigger. TG

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Untitled ‘Deadpool’ Sequel (May 18)

The wicked delight of 2016’s Deadpool was its R-rated, middle-fingers-raised takedown of superhero movies, positioning itself as the snot-nosed class clown shooting spitballs at the rest of the MCU. The movie was an unexpected smash, but from what we can tell about the sequel, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) hasn’t lost an ounce of piss and vinegar. Still not officially titled – part of us would love it if Fox just stuck with The Untitled Deadpool Sequel as the name – the follow-up is keeping its plotline mysterious. (The film’s website jokingly describes the story as Deadpool’s journey “to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry’s hottest bartender.”) What we do know is John Wick and Atomic Blonde director David Leitch has come on board, and that Reynolds is probably going to continue having a ball with the smartass role of his dreams. TG

solo han star wars

Jonathan Olley

‘Solo: A Star Wars Movie’ (May 25)

It makes sense that a movie about a seat-of-the-pants flyboy like Han Solo would take a bumpy trip to the screen. After The Lego Movie team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were replaced with director Ron Howard, rumors spread that the latest standalone Star Wars project was in trouble. But with The Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan providing the script and charismatic young actor Alden Ehrenreich as Han (with Donald Glover his old frenemy Lando Calrissian), Solo’s fundamentals remain strong … or at least as shipshape as the Millennium Falcon. NM

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‘Oceans 8’ (Jun. 8)

The gender-reversed remake trend looks to hit paydirt with this play on Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven movies – and just as those Rat-Pack throwback heist flicks doubled as tributes to contemporary movie-star glamour, this spin-off offers up three of Hollywood’s biggest actresses (Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, and Anne Hathaway) in place of the Clooney/Pitt/Damon trifecta. It also gets quirky with a supporting cast (Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter, Rihanna, Awkwafina) that will likely never appear together in any other context. Setting the caper at the Met Gala only adds to the glittering spectacle, as well as presenting a moving target with possible hiccups and variables. The film should have no trouble picking a few pockets. ST 

50 Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

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‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ (Jun. 8)

If you’re the sort of person who wells up watching old clips of PBS host Mr. Rogers delivering lessons about kindness, then you’ll probably want to bring a whole box of Kleenex to this new bio-doc. Oscar-winner Morgan Neville already proved he can tug on heartstrings with his rousing 2013 film 20 Feet from Stardom, and in recounting the life, carer and philosophies of Presbyterian minister-turned-Pittsburgh puppeteer Fred Rogers, the director could have viewers singing “It’s Such a Good Feeling” through convulsive sobs. NM

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‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ (Jun. 22)

Fire up the ‘ol hamster wheel, because the gang is returning to Jurassic World, despite the theme park collapsing and Isla Nublar being totally overrun by dinosaurs. Their motivation is a little thin: Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), now the founder of an organization designed to protect the dinosaurs, convinces dashing trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) to join her on a rescue mission when a volcano threatens to make those giant beasts extinct once more. What, besides everything, could possibly go wrong? To be fair, the base appeal of combining rampaging monsters with potential tsunamis of hot lava would probably bring us back to the island, too. ST

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‘Sicario 2: Soldado’ (Jun. 29)

Here’s the bad news: Sicario director Denis Villeneuve, star Emily Blunt, and Oscar-nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins aren’t returning for this sequel to 2015’s surprise hit, about drug-trafficking along the Mexican border. But Benecio del Toro, Josh Brolin and Jeffrey Donovan are all back, playing the same shady characters and using their governmental authority to exact modern frontier justice. Plus Hell or High Water scribe Taylor Sheridan – who’s fast becoming the movies’ best crime writer – is also still on-board, for another deep dive into the violent lives of morally compromised men and women fighting cartels one black-ops bullet at a time. NM

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‘The First Purge’ (Jul. 4)

Did you ever find yourself wondering, three melees into the dystopian sci-fi/action/horror series The Purge, how America underwrote a 12-hour period every year where all crimes are legal, especially the most gruesome murders possible? This latest entry finally has all the answers. Creator James DeMonaco’s prequel accounts for how the country embraced the cathartic kill-’em-all concept – or perhaps had it foisted upon them by a fascist, totalitarian regime – and flashes back to the very first Purge Night, which was limited to the island of Staten. Think Escape From New York or Battle Royale, but with broader bloody–free-for-all demographics. ST 

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‘Ant Man and the Wasp’ (Jul. 6)

Given the behind-the-scenes drama (directorial musical-chairs games, tight deadlines, script rewrites), the first Ant-Man turned out better than expected. Now that filmmaker Peyton Reed is firmly in place, it stands to reason that this sequel should feel even more like a fully realized adventure, with Paul Rudd settling into his third turn as Scott Lang/Ant-Man and Evangeline Lilly stepping up as his romantic/crimefighting partner in a wasp suit. On the heels of Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok, an Ant-Man sequel should also fit well with an MCU that’s opening itself up to more lightness and wackiness. ST

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Scott Patrick Green/Courtesy of Sundance Institute

‘Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot’ (July 13)

The last time Gus Van Sant adapted an off-the-wall book with a quirky title, the result was [gulpEven Cowgirls Get the Blues. But there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the veteran indie filmmaker’s take on John Callahan’s memoir, starting with Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as the provocative cartoonist who reexamines his priorities after an all-night bender leads to permanent paralysis. Van Sant is the ideal director to explore the life and art of a fellow Portland-based artist – and the terrific cast is filled out by Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, Jack Black, Kim Gordon, Carrie Brownstein and cult favorite Udo Kier. ST 

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‘The Incredibles 2’ (Jul. 13)

When the first Incredibles movie arrived way back in 2004, our multiplexes weren’t yet overpopulated with superheroes – which made writer-director Brad Bird’s brightly colored, whiz-bang approach to costumed adventuring seem fresh. In 2018, Elastigirl, Mr. Incredible, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack will be returning to a very blockbuster market. But given Pixar’s eye-popping animation and the director’s own track record, there’s plenty of reason to expect that these champions will still swoop in to save the summer. NM

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‘Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again’ (Jul. 20)

Both a sequel and a prequel to the hit movie version of a smash jukebox musical, this return to Abba’s mind-boggling pop-musical catalog reunites the original’s cast for a story that will flash back to the early days of the Dynamos (and will bring Cher into the fold, playing the grandmother of Amanda Seyfried’s Sophie). Rising British star Lily James plays the young Donna, and faces the unenviable task of standing in for a young Meryl Streep. Expect lots of singing along to many of the Swedish band’s greatest hits and deepest album cuts. NM

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‘M:I 6 – Mission: Impossible’ (Jul. 27)

“Cruise is the fucking king … I love watching those Mission: Impossible films.” Take it from Paul Thomas Anderson: The Jack Reacher movies and last year’s The Mummy may have been misfires, but Tom Cruise’s long-running spy series is him at his absolute running-jumping-not-standing-still best. We know that several of the key players from 2015’s fabulous Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation have returned – most importantly filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie and costar Rebecca Ferguson, whose secret agent Ilsa Faust has become the series’ most beguiling and complex foil. Cruise will turn 56 a few weeks before M:I 6‘s release, but as the unstoppable Ethan Hunt, he remains an ageless blur of bravado and breakneck sprinting. TG

50 Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

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‘The Predator’ (Aug. 3)

Back when Predator was released in 1987, Shane Black was a wunderkind screenwriter whose first produced script, for a buddy action-comedy called Lethal Weapon, had just before released three months earlier. (He was also cast as monster fodder in the original.) But the most in-demand writer of the 1980s has since become a reliably sharp director (see Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), and the fourth film in the series puts Black in charge of the humans v. killer alien action. He’s also loaded the cast with highly regarded discoveries like Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight), Jacob Tremblay (Room), and Sterling K. Brown (American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson). Remember, if it bleeds, you can kill it. ST 

constance wu rich asians

Todd Heisler/The New York Times/Redux

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ (Aug. 17)

Rachel is a Chinese-American college professor who decides to travel to Singapore for a lavish wedding. She’s also going to meet her boyfriend Henry’s parents and relatives for the first time – a family who happens to be filthy rich and, if this comedy’s title is to believed, batshit nuts as well. Readers who made Kevin Kwan’s 2013 novel a bestseller knows what happens next in terms of culture clashes and comic business; the rest of you should simply note that Fresh Off the Boat MVP Constance Wu plays the heroine, the ridiculously handsome Henry Golding plays her beau and wuxia legend Michelle Yeoh plays Henry’s mom. Consider this a RSVP. DF

black klansmen

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‘Black Klansman’ (Fall 2018)

Never afraid to throw the proverbial trash can through the window, director Spike Lee address the current rise of white supremacy through the true story of a Colorado Springs police detective who went undercover to investigate the Ku Klux Klan. The twist is that the detective, Ron Stallworth, was black – which not only prevented barriers to infiltrating the KKK, but institutional problems within a racist police department. Get Out‘s Jordan Peele has signed on as a producer; John David Washington, son of Denzel, plays Stallworth; and Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace and Corey Hawkins round out the cast, with the latter as Civil Rights leader Stokely Carmichael. (Asked about whether he sympathized with any of the KKK members, Stallworth told Vice, “No, they were all assholes.”) ST

a star is born

Neal Preston/Warner Bros. Pictures

‘A Star Is Born’ (Oct. 5)

Tale as old as time: Successful older man courts beautiful protégé, propelling her to fame as they fall in love. Now Bradley Cooper tackles this iconic material for its fourth iteration, playing past-his-prime singer Jackson Maine who becomes enraptured by Lady Gaga’s prodigiously talented Ally. This Star Is Born is notable for several firsts: Cooper makes his directorial debut on the film; it’s also Gaga’s first big-screen starring role. But Warner Bros. is no doubt hoping for some déjà vu: The earlier versions all received multiple Oscar nominations, and Cooper’s remake opens during the rush of awards season. TG

Tom Hardy venom

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‘Venom’ (Oct. 5)

We’ve had plenty of films starring Marvel superheroes, but never any focused on the villains. That changes with this feature-length backstory of one of Spider-Man’s greatest nemeses. Tom Hardy portrays Eddie Brock, a reporter who comes in contact with an alien symbiote that gives him terrifying powers. Directed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland), Venom supposedly won’t be featuring the Webslinger but will be sporting a horror-movie tone far different than the more playful Spider-Man: Homecoming. As for Hardy, he’s already played monsters both real (1970s U.K. criminal Michael Peterson in Bronson) and fictional (Bane in The Dark Knight Rises) – so portraying a dark counterpart to your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man should be a breeze for such a badass. TG

First Man

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‘First Man’ (Oct. 12)

Because who else are you going to cast to play Neil Armstrong in a biopic about the legendary astronaut besides Ryan Gosling? The gent saved jazz, people – surely he can take one small step for man, etc.! The actor and director Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to their glorious musical throwback La La Land goes from the City of Star to the actual home of stars, following the aeronautics engineer as he prepares to leave our orbit and make history. The cast bench on this one is deep: Claire Foy is Armstrong’s wife; Corey Stoll shows up as Buzz Aldrin; and Kyle Chandler, Jon Bernthal, Brian d’Arcy James, Jason Clarke and Pablo Schreiber all play Armstrong’s fellow men with the right stuff. DF

'Can You Ever Forgive Me?' (Oct. 19)

Mary Cybulski/20th Century Fox

‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ (Oct. 19)

Director Marielle Heller follows up her coming-of-age hit The Diary of a Teenage Girl with this stranger-and-much-more-fucked-up-than-fiction story about Lee Israel, a biographer who found that her books weren’t quite the bestselling page-turners they once were. So she does what any author would do, i.e. begins forging letters from famous people and selling them to the highest bidders. And we all know that’s just a gateway crime, right? Melissa McCarthy plays Israel; Withnail himself, Richard E. Grant, plays her accomplice. This bio-comedy looks crazy lit, by which we mean “literary.” DF

halloween

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‘Halloween’ (Oct. 19)

The Halloween franchise has been rebooted so often that many hardcore horror fans would rather jab butcher knives through their skulls than watch another. But what if we told you that John Carpenter is back as a producer, and is bringing back original star Jamie Lee Curtis? And what would you say if you heard that Eastside & Down collaborators Danny McBride and David Gordon Green are writing and directing the new one? Story details are under wraps, but McBride has said that this is a direct sequel to the first film, so you won’t even have to sit through H20 or Resurrection again. NM

suspiria

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‘Suspiria’ (Fall 2018)

Dario Argento’s 1977 Italian horror classic – about an American ballerina attending a prestigious German academy – has devotees from David Lynch to Nicolas Winding Refn to Edgar Wright. The latest acolyte is Call Me By Your Name filmmaker Luca Guadagnino, who’s crafted an English-language remake that stars Dakota Johnson as the American who uncovers the dance troupe’s dangerous secrets. This new Suspiria not only features Johnson, who was a summery temptress in Guadagnino’s A Bigger Splash, but also Chloe Grace Moretz and longtime Guadagnino collaborator Tilda Swinton. And take note, fans: Jessica Harper, the star of the original, is part of this remake in a new role. TG

if beale street could talk

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‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ (Fall 2018)

For his follow-up to Moonlight, Barry Jenkins turns to a James Baldwin novel about a love that persists through oppression and racial injustice. For the lead roles of Fonny and Tish, he’s cast Stephan James – who’s already played John Lewis (Selma) and Jesse Owens (Race) in his young career – and newcomer Kiki Layne, who won the part over 300 other women who auditioned. After the couple fall in love, get engaged and expect their first child, Fonny is framed for rape, leading Tish and her dysfunctional family to take up the cause of liberating him from a corrupt system. It may sound like a change of pace for Jenkins, but the romantic spirit that illuminates Baldwin’s book isn’t far removed from the world of his Oscar-winning breakthrough. ST 

x men dark phoenix

Doane Gregory/Twentieth Century Fox

‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ (Nov. 2)

Logan rousingly ended Wolverine’s saga, but his fellow X-Men still have plenty of life left in them. Dark Phoenix reunites the crew that was last seen in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, focusing on Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey – who’s now been exposed to dark powers while in outer space that make her a danger to the rest of the team. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence are all back, but it’s the new names that are the most intriguing: Jessica Chastain will be playing a mysterious alien, while Simon Kinberg makes his directorial debut. A producer and screenwriter on many of the X-Men films, starting with co-writing 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, he’s been almost as integral to the franchise as Hugh Jackman himself. TG

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‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ (Nov. 16)

The Potterverse prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them set the stage for a new chapter in J.K. Rowling’s saga of magic and muggles, and this follow-up hopes to build on that promise, pitting the timid Newt Scamander (Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne) against the fearsome wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp). For those that carped that the first Fantastic Beasts was too slow, remember: The original Harry Potter cinematic universe didn’t get cooking until the second installment, either. And for those thirsting for a little more Hogwarts-ian connection to this new franchise, Jude Law is on board to play a much-younger Dumbledore – a role made iconic by the late Richard Harris and Michael Gambon in the Potter films. TG

widows

James Veysey/Camera Press/Redux

‘Widows’ (Nov. 19)

You may not have seen the 1980s British TV series Widows, in which a group of professional criminals are murdered during an armed robbery and their wives step in to complete the job. Oscar-winner Steve McQueen has, however, and along with his co-writer/Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn, the 12 Years a Slave director is turning the drama into the starriest heist movies this side of Ocean’s 8. Seriously, this is a to-die-for cast: Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, Michelle Rodriguez, Colin Farrell, Get Out‘s Daniel Kaluuya, Carrie Coon, Jon Bernthal, Robert Duvall, Moonlight‘s André Holland, Elizabeth Debicki, Jacki Weaver. All this, and the notion that one of the single best filmmakers working today is tackling a pulpy crime drama. We’re so there. DF

the irishman Martin Scorsese

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‘The Irishman’ (Fall 2018)

Now 75, Martin Scorsese has devoted the past several years to moving forward on long-gestating projects – and now he’s back with a film that’s taken about 10 years to get off the ground. Based on the life of Frank Sheeran, a mob hitman who may have been involved in Jimmy Hoffa’s death, The Irishman has a dream cast filled with plenty of Scorsese regulars: Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro as Sheeran. But, remarkably, the movie also features the first pairing of Scorsese with Al Pacino, leading to hopes that the legendary actor will find the comeback role he’s been missing for years. Netflix is bankrolling The Irishman, which would be the streaming service’s most prestigious project to date – so fingers crossed the movie will be ready in time for an awards run late this year. TG

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‘Mortal Engines’ (Dec. 14)

Those jonesing for their next hit of Fury Road-style post-apocalyptic action spectacle have been mainlining the teaser for this stunning-looking piece of steampunk in which large, motorized cities attack one another for domination of a resource-scarce Earth. Presented by Peter Jackson, who adapted Philip Reeve’s novel with his frequent screenwriting collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, the movie stars Hugo Weaving, Hera Hilmar and Robert Sheehan. And although the Lord of the Rings helmer didn’t direct it, the movie is in good hands: Christian Rivers, who won an Oscar for King Kong‘s visual effects, makes his feature debut. TG

aquaman

Warner Bros. Pictures

‘Aquaman’ (Dec. 21)

After the debacle of Justice League, maybe it’s better if our superfriends spend some quality time apart. That’s one of the reasons to be optimistic about Aquaman, which gives Jason Momoa’s underwater hero a chance to be his own fishman away from the rest of his DC cohorts. Also exciting is that this standalone adventure is directed by James Wan, one of Hollywood’s most inventive genre filmmakers (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring, Furious 7). He’s assembled a murderers’ row of character actors, Oscar-winners and inspired oddities for this ensemble: Everyone from Willem Dafoe to Nicole Kidman to Dolph Lundgren will be joining in on the fun. TG

mary poppins

Jay Maidment/Disney

‘Mary Poppins Returns’ (Dec. 21)

Never got tickets to Hamilton during its original Broadway run? Well, this Christmas you’ll have another opportunity to see Lin-Manuel Miranda sing and dance, thanks to Walt Disney’s sequel to the 1964 live-action musical classic. Set decades after the original – with the Banks kids now adults – the movie has Miranda playing an apprentice to Dick Van Dyke’s chimney sweep from the first film, while Emily Blunt grabs an umbrella and slips into Julie Andrews’ hat as the super-nanny who’s practically perfect in every way. NM

bohemian rhapsody

Nick Delaney/Twentieth Century Fox

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (Dec. 25)

The saga of making a movie about Freddie Mercury and Queen has been nearly as dramatic and electric as the music the group recorded during their heyday. For years, Sacha Baron Cohen was slated to play the late singer, who died in 1991, eventually leaving the project over creative differences with the band and being replaced by Mr. Robot‘s Rami Malek. Then late last year, director Bryan Singer was fired partway through production, with Eddie the Eagle filmmaker Dexter Fletcher brought in to complete the movie. Reportedly spanning Queen’s early years to their triumphant performance at 1985’s Live Aid, this biopic was always destined to be a salute to a flamboyant, excessive, brilliant group who never did things the easy or conventional way. Why should Queen’s journey to the screen be any less high-wire? TG

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