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Ben Whishaw wanted by Queen for Freddie Mercury biopic

Roger Taylor said the band hoped to cast the Skyfall actor in the part

Queen have said they would like Ben Whishaw to play Freddie Mercury in the forthcoming biopic about the late star, according to the band’s drummer Roger Taylor.

Speaking on BBC’s One Show, Taylor said the band’s preferred actor had the initials “BW”. When asked if that meant Ben Whishaw, he replied: “Well, we hope so”.

Sacha Baron Cohen, who was due to star as Mercury, left the production in July following “creative differences” with the bad.

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

Last week, Brian May explained the decision, saying Baron Cohen’s presence “would be very distracting”.

He said the band were concerned his previous high-profile roles would overshadow his portrayal of Mercury.

He told Classic Rock Magazine: “What led us to that conclusion was the last three movies that he’s made- The Dictator, Les Miserables and Hugo- in which he makes outstanding performances, but they’re very much Sacha Baron Cohen performances.

“And we thought there has to be no distraction in the Freddie movie. You have to really suspend that disbelief- the man who plays Freddie, you have to really believe is Freddie. And we didn’t think that could really happen with Sacha.”

Whishaw, who has appeared in Skyfall and BBC’s The Hour, is the latest name to be attached to the production.

Daniel Radcliffe was said to be in the running to play Freddie Mercury, but quashed rumours by announcing he was “totally wrong for the part”.