Ben Whishaw to play Freddie Mercury in Dexter Fletcher film

The actor will replace Sacha Baron Cohen, who left the production in July

Ben Whishaw has been confirmed to play Freddie Mercury in the forthcoming biopic about the late Queen singer.

Whishaw had been rumoured to play Mercury since October, when Queen drummer Roger Taylor said he hoped the band could secure the Skyfall actor for the film.

The 33-year-old is now reported to have signed for the role, taking the place of Sacha Baron Cohen who left the production earlier this year, according to Deadline Hollywood.

British actor-turned-director Dexter Fletcher has also been signed to helm the film.

Known for his roles in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Kick-Ass and The Elephant Man, he most recently directed Edinburgh-based musical Sunshine on Leith.

Frost/Nixon writer Peter Morgan, whose other credits include The Damned United and The Last King of Scotland, will pen the screenplay.

The Freddie Mercury film will tell the coming of age story of the band, culminating in Queen’s headline performance at Live Aid in 1985.

Well-known Queen songs including “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “We Will Rock You” and “Another One Bites the Dust” will  feature in the film.

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Ben Whishaw with Dominic West and Romola Garai in 'The Hour'

Mercury died in 1991 of complication from AIDS, but it is said his last days will not be the subject of the film.

Sacha Baron Cohen was due to play the Queen frontman but left the production in July over “creative differences” with the band.

The Borat star reportedly wanted to make a gritty “tell-all” about the gay singer, while the band wanted a more family-friendly film.

Whishaw, who starred in BBC TV series The Hour,  is due to reprise his role as Q in Bond 24 in 2015. He will also star as Herman Melville in The Heart of the Sea, a Warner Bros film about the whale attack that spawned Moby Dick.

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