The Freddie Mercury biopic recruited a new actor and director to guide the long-gestating project as Mr. Robot star Rami Malek and The Usual Suspects director Bryan Singer have signed on for the Queen film, titled Bohemian Rhapsody.
Singer confirmed his involvement on the biopic on Instagram, nearly a year after producers announced they had hired The Theory of Everything screenwriter Anthony McCarten to pen a new draft of the film.
Deadline adds that 20th Century Fox and New Regency teamed with original producer Graham King and GK Film to greenlight and fast-track the project, with production scheduled to begin early next year.
Malek and Singer are the latest tandem to become attached to the film, which has been in development for six years. Sacha Baron Cohen was initially cast to portray Mercury in the biopic, but he dropped out over disagreements with Mercury’s band mates over how the film would cover the more salacious details of the Queen singer’s life.
“A member of the band, I won’t say who, he said, ‘This is such a great movie because it’s got such an amazing thing that happens in the middle of the movie,'” Cohen told Howard Stern in March. “I go, ‘What happens in the middle of the movie?’ He goes, ‘Freddie dies.'” Cohen said that the second half of the planned film, which aimed for a PG rating, would focus on Queen’s career after Mercury’s 1991 death.
“At the end of the day it really was an artistic difference,” Cohen added of his departure.
May said of Cohen’s decision to exit the film in December 2013, “In the end, we felt that his presence in the movie would be very distracting,” noting the actor’s roles in comedies like Borat and The Dictator.
In November 2015, McCarten was brought onboard to pen the screenplay, which will serve as the basis for the upcoming biopic.