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'Mr Robot' Star Rami Malek To Portray Freddie Mercury In Queen Biopic


Rami Malek Queen Freddie Mercury Sacha Baron Cohen

American actor Rami Malek has become the latest star to sign up to portray Freddie Mercury in the much-disrupted Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.

The 35 year old star, who won an Emmy for his role as the troubled hacker Elliot Alderson in ‘Mr. Robot’, is to play the late rock icon in a biopic movie that’s set to be directed by X-Men’s Bryan Singer, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Singer himself confirmed the news of his and Malek’s involvement via his own Instagram account on Friday night (November 4th), sharing a photo of the four Queen members’ faces as they appear in the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ video.

Continue reading: 'Mr Robot' Star Rami Malek To Portray Freddie Mercury In Queen Biopic

Asteroid Named After Freddie Mercury To Commemorate His Birthday


Freddie Mercury Brian May

Freddie Mercury would have been 70-years-old today, and to mark his birthday, the International Astronomical Union has decided to name an asteroid after him. His Queen co-member Brian May was on hand to celebrate the new proposal as part of the Freddie For A Day party in Montreux, Switzerland; the same town where his statue stands overlooking Lake Geneva.

Freddie MercuryFreddie Mercury gets an asteroid named after him


Brian May announced the exciting news in a video message released at the Freddie For A Day 70th birthday party at Montreux Casino, which benefits the AIDS charity Mercury Phoenix Trust. He briefly outlined everything that is known about this particular celestial body and read out the citation from the certificate issued by the IAU. Plus, there's a short video of the asteroid in action at the end.

'The International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Centre, which operates out of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, has deemed it their duty and their pleasure to name an asteroid after Freddie', said Brian May. 'It's out in the main asteroid belt beyond the orbit of Mars and inside the orbit of Jupiter. It's about 3.5km across, it has an albedo of about point 3 which means it only reflects about one third of the light which falls upon it.'



Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury was coincidentally first discovered in 1991, the year of his death. According to May, it can be seen from Earth, but only with an especially powerful telescope. 'From the Earth it shines at the fourteenth magnitude which means you have to have a pretty decent telescope to see it', he adds. 'It's just a dot of light but it's a very special dot of light.'

May also read out the commemorative certificate's citation for Freddie. 'Freddie Mercury (Farrokh Bulsara 1946-1991) was a distinguished British songwriter and the lead singer for the legendary rock group Queen', it read. 'His incredible vocal range and distinctive sound and performance style made him one of the most well-known icons of rock music and he is regarded as one of the greatest rock singers of all time.'

Incidentally, Brian May himself is an astrophysicist having finally obtained his PhD at the Imperial College London in 2007. He'd initially abandoned his PhD in the 70s as Queen became huge. He actually also had an asteroid named after him, Asteroid 52665 Brianmay, in 2008 (as suggested by Sir Patrick Moore because of the initials in the provisional 1998 BM30 designation) and went on to co-founder Asteroid Day which takes place on June 30th.

More: Freddie Mercury's childhood home honoured by English Heritage

'Freddie Mercury sang, 'I'm a shooting star leaping through the sky' - and now that is even more true than ever before', said Joel Parker of the Southwest Research Institute. 'When an asteroid is initially discovered it is given a 'provisional designation' until enough measurements have been made that its orbit is accurately determined. At that point, it is given a number and is eligible to get a name as well. In this case, the asteroid in question was discovered in 1991 and was given the provisional designation '1991 FM3'. It has been observed and its position and orbit measured over 1,100 times, and it was given the number 17473.'

Like May's asteroid, the proposal to name the rock after Freddie was partly due to the 'FM' in the initial designation. It's been quite the commemorative month for Freddie though; only last week did English Heritage unveil a blue plaque on his modest semi-detached childhood home in the London suburb of Feltham.

Blue Plaque Unveiled Outside Freddie Mercury's Childhood Home In West London


Freddie Mercury Queen Brian May

A blue plaque commemorating the first house that the iconic Queen frontman Freddie Mercury lived in when his family arrived in Britain has been unveiled in Feltham, West London.

Mercury – birth name Farrokh Bulsara – lived in the pebble-dash semi at 22 Gladstone Avenue from the age of 17, when his family emigrated from Zanzibar in the autumn of 1964. While he was living there, he met his future Queen band-mates Brian May and Roger Taylor.

Continue reading: Blue Plaque Unveiled Outside Freddie Mercury's Childhood Home In West London

'Sacha Baron Cohen Is An A***': Brian May Is Brutally Honest About Comedian's Departure From Freddie Mercury Biopic


Sacha Baron Cohen Brian May Freddie Mercury Queen

Brian May is painfully truthful about his opinion of Sacha Baron Cohen after the comedian pulled out of the Freddie Mercury biopic over disagreements about the content of the movie. When Cohen suggested that producers wanted something that was essentially a watered down reality, May wasn't happy.

Sacha Baron CohenSacha Baron Cohen branded an a***

'Grimsby' star Sacha Baron Cohen could well have made the perfect Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic that's currently in the works. However, he decided to walk away from the project once he realised that it wouldn't be as candid as he'd have liked. He opened up about the conflict on The Howard Stern Show, claiming that May was 'not a great movie producer' and only interested to 'protect their legacy as a band'.

Continue reading: 'Sacha Baron Cohen Is An A***': Brian May Is Brutally Honest About Comedian's Departure From Freddie Mercury Biopic

Brian May Brands Sacha Baron Cohen An 'Arse' Over Freddie Mercury Biopic


Brian May Sacha Baron Cohen Queen Freddie Mercury

Queen guitarist Brian May has hit out at Sacha Baron Cohen, calling him an ‘arse’ over his recent comments about the planned Freddie Mercury biopic. Last month Cohen had said he left the film because the remaining members of Queen wanted to make a family friendly biopic, while the actor wanted something grittier.

Sacha Baron CohenBrian May has called Sacha Baron Cohen an ‘arse’.

“Sacha became an arse,” May told the Mail on Sunday. “We had some nice times with Sacha kicking around ideas but he went off and told untruths about what happened. Why would he go away and say that we didn’t want to make a gritty film?"

Continue reading: Brian May Brands Sacha Baron Cohen An 'Arse' Over Freddie Mercury Biopic

Tonight Matthew, I'm Going To Be Freddy Mercury - Ben Whishaw


Ben Whishaw Freddie Mercury Sacha Baron Cohen

Remember Stars in Their Eyes? That was good wasn’t it, and while it may have provided an incredibly cheap platform on which to build this story – surrounding Ben Whishaw’s upcoming turn as Freddie Mercury in a biopic of the mercurial singer – we maintain its validity and quality. But that’s enough nostalgia now; it’s time to step back into 2013.

Ben WhishawBen Whishaw clasping his Bafta

Whishaw has replaced Sacha Baron Cohen - reports the BBC -  who pulled out of playing the late Queen star because of creative differences with the band. He wanted to portray every facet of Mercury’s life included the more debauched and unsavoury times, as well as the creative entertainment powerhouse that he was. The remaining Queen members on board, though, wanted a family friendly exposition of his life, and ties were cut.

Continue reading: Tonight Matthew, I'm Going To Be Freddy Mercury - Ben Whishaw

Ben Whishaw Lands Freddie Mercury Role, Replaces Sacha Baron Cohen


Ben Whishaw Queen Freddie Mercury Brian May Roger Taylor

Actor Ben Whishaw has reportedly stepped in to play legendary Queen frontman Freddie Mercury after the recent departure of Sacha Baron Cohen. The 33 year-old Skyfall actor has landed the role in the upcoming biopic charting the fame of the 'Bohemian Rhapsody' rocker, The Mail on Sunday claims to have confirmed.

Ben Whishaw Pride
Ben Whishaw Is The Queen Favourite For The Role.

Baron Cohen dropped out over the summer over quarrels with the remaining Queen members regarding the film's plot. Sacha was said to be gunning for a bare-all, gritty portrayal of the singer who died in 1991 whereas the band preferred a more family-friendly storyline that celebrated Queen's music.

Continue reading: Ben Whishaw Lands Freddie Mercury Role, Replaces Sacha Baron Cohen

Brian May Explains Why Sasha Baron Cohen Was Wrong For Freddie Mercury Biopic


Queen Freddie Mercury Brian May Roger Taylor Sacha Baron Cohen Ben Whishaw

The planned biopic of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury's life has been in discussion for three years now, with comic actor Sacha Baron Cohen in line to star as the late singer since the very beginning of the project. The biopic was thrown into disarray in the summer however, when it was reported that Cohen had been booted from the project, with little explanation for his exit. This week, Queen guitarist Brian May looked to shed some light on what happened.

Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury is revered as one of the finest rock frontmen of all time

"It's quite difficult to talk about because we owe Sacha a lot," May told Classic Rock in it's latest issue. He went on to say, "He had so much enthusiasm for the project and it really helped us kick it into the start position. But in the end we felt that his presence in the movie would be very distracting."

Continue reading: Brian May Explains Why Sasha Baron Cohen Was Wrong For Freddie Mercury Biopic

Daniel Radcliffe A No-Go For Freddy Mercury Role, But Why?


Daniel Radcliffe Sacha Baron Cohen Freddie Mercury

Since Sacha Baron-Cohen dropped out of the Freddy Mercury biopic, a few names have been touted for his return.

Johnny Depp was even mentioned following his high-profile flop as Tonto in Lone Ranger, and so was Daniel Radcliffe, who has moved to quash the rumours.

He told Empire magazine: "There’s no truth to it at all. It’s one of those very, very funny things: it came out of a story in the Daily Star and then you see newspapers like The Guardian using The Star as their source, and it grows and grows until it's 'Daniel Radcliffe playing Freddie Mercury!', which I was never going to do."

Continue reading: Daniel Radcliffe A No-Go For Freddy Mercury Role, But Why?

Daniel Radcliffe Rumoured Freddie Mercury Replacement After Sacha Baron Cohen Steps Out


Daniel Radcliffe Freddie Mercury Queen Sacha Baron Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen as Freddie Mercury: it was almost too perfect. The looks, the singing ability, the eccentricity, the confidence; the planned Queen biopic was bound to be a hit. However, then Baron Cohen shocked by stepping away from the movie, and leaving the iconic role open. The 41 year-old comedian pulled out of the movie a few months ago due to "creative differences."

Daniel Radcliffe
Daniel Radcliffe Rumoured To Play Freddie Mercury.

According to Deadline, the band who wanted a more PG-ready film whilst Baron Cohen pushed for a grittier tell-all R-rated version that would take a deeper look at the talented singer's life both on and off the stage. A compromise could not be reach and Sacha threw in the towel.

Continue reading: Daniel Radcliffe Rumoured Freddie Mercury Replacement After Sacha Baron Cohen Steps Out

Sean Sasser, AIDS Activist And 'Real World: San Francisco' Cast Member, Dies Aged 44


Freddie Mercury Rock Hudson Magic Johnson

Sean Sasser, who featured in the reality show The Real World: San Francisco, has died aged 44. Sasser was featured on the show owing to his relationship with primary cast member Pedro Zamora. 

David Rainey
David "Puck" Rainey who starred on The Real World: San Francisco with Sasser's partner Pedro Zamora. Photographed with his son at the 2010 'Reality Bash' in L.A.

Sasser was HIV positive and died of a rare lung cancer, mesothelioma. This cancer, according to Queerty, has been linked to the weakened immune systems of those suffering from HIV.

Continue reading: Sean Sasser, AIDS Activist And 'Real World: San Francisco' Cast Member, Dies Aged 44

Unheard Michael Jackson & Freddie Mercury Duets Set For Release 30 Years Later


Brian May Freddie Mercury Queen Michael Jackson

Queen guitarist Brian May has revealed that he's working on and plans to release previously unheard material from Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury and pop star Michael Jackson. The surfacing of the dead icons' collaboration will mark 30 years since they were originally recorded in 1983, but May and pop producer supremo William Orbit have worked together to tweak and remaster the songs - one would assume - for digital age optimisation.

Michael Jackson
We Will Hear New Jackson Material In A Freddie Mercury Collaboration.

The tracks in question were reportedly recorded three decades ago at Jackson's home studio in Encino, California, before the pair fell out after Jackson decided to bring a llama into the studio. Yup, the duet tracks could well be llama-inspired, after Freddie's manager Jim "Miami" Beach reportedly got a call from the British star, having said; "Mercury rang me and said: 'Miami, dear, can you get over here? You've got to get me out of here; I'm recording with a llama.'"

Continue reading: Unheard Michael Jackson & Freddie Mercury Duets Set For Release 30 Years Later

A Week In Music, Kanye West Releases 'Black Skinhead' Video, Dawes Talk New Album And Bob Dylan And Mercury And Jackson Duets Are To Be Unveiled


Kanye West Kavinsky Frank Turner Franz Ferdinand Ghostpoet Dawes Disclosure Letlive Freddie Mercury Michael Jackson Taylor Swift Carly Simon Sub Focus

Kanye West Black Skinhead Artwork

A week in music videos... Kanye West has been doing a lot of promotion for his edgy, rock-infused track 'Black Skinhead' (or 'BLKKK SKKKN HEAD' as it's otherwise known'), the lead single from his US and UK number one album 'Yeezus', so his anger when the unfinished video directed by Nick Knight was leaked earlier in July was unsurprising. He described the unauthorised distribution as 'heartbreaking' and no wonder; a video as unique as this was definitely worthy of a grand entrance but, nonetheless, the spoiler has definitely not affected the viewing experience.Watch the video for BLKKK SKKKN HEAD here.

French house star Kavinsky has already become a hit in his home nation with his debut album 'OutRun', released earlier this year, reaching number 2 in the charts and he's certainly turning heads overseas too. Teaming up with Canadian producer The Weeknd on one of his newest singles, Kavinsky delivers a driving dance beat with 'Odd Look' - the single from his new EP of the same name. The track also features on his album as a collaboration with fellow electronic musician SebastiAn. Listen to Odd Look here.

Continue reading: A Week In Music, Kanye West Releases 'Black Skinhead' Video, Dawes Talk New Album And Bob Dylan And Mercury And Jackson Duets Are To Be Unveiled

Sacha Baron Cohen Booted Off Unnamed Freddie Mercury Biopic Due To Disagreements With Queen


Sacha Baron Cohen Freddie Mercury Queen

Sacha Baron Cohen has been rumored to play Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic for a while now, but unfortunately, the plans have fallen through. While the movie appears to be something of a pet project for Cohen, he had to make a graceful exit, due to “creative differences” with the remaining members of Queen.

Sacha Baron Cohen, Les Miserables Premiere
Cohen won't be adding the biopic to his long list of achievements after all.

According to Deadline, the band wanted more of a PG-13 documentary about the entirety of Queen, while Cohen was hoping to get down and dirty in a tell-all documentary about the iconic singer’s troubled history. He had reportedly brought in Peter Morgan to write and various directors including David Fincher and Tom Hooper to develop the project for himself. Unfortunately, the band did not greenlight any of them for the film. Film is set at Sony Pictures and GK Films and it will be produced by Graham King, Tom Headington, Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal for Queen Films.

Continue reading: Sacha Baron Cohen Booted Off Unnamed Freddie Mercury Biopic Due To Disagreements With Queen

Sacha Baron Cohen Steps Out Of Freddie Mercury Biopic: Who'll Play The Queen Frontman Now?


Sacha Baron Cohen Freddie Mercury Queen Jared Leto Eric Bana Ezra Miller Johnny Depp

Sacha Baron Cohen AKA Ali G AKA Borat AKA... you get it, was an example of a truly fitting casting decision when it was announced he'd be playing Freddie Mercury in a biopic about the late Queen lead singer's life, with even Brian May and Roger Taylor on board to contribute a few tunes and make sure the film was headed in the right direction.

Brian May
Strong-Willed Guitarist Brian May Is On Board For Queen Movie.

It's true, there's few more perfect to play iconic Queen frontman Freddie Mercury than British comic Sacha Baron Cohen: the looks, the eccentricity, the infectious energy and the unquestionably self-confident flair. However, the 41 year-old actor has pulled out of the planned biopic due to "creative differences," confirms Baron Cohen's manager via Variety. According to Deadline, the band were after a more PG-ready film whilst Baron Cohen pushed for a grittier tell-all R-rated version that would take a deeper look at the talented singer's life both on and off the stage.

Continue reading: Sacha Baron Cohen Steps Out Of Freddie Mercury Biopic: Who'll Play The Queen Frontman Now?

Princess Diana's Crazy Night Out With Freddie Mercury Revealed In New Book


Diana Princess Of Wales Freddie Mercury Cleo Rocos

Does everyone remember that time when Princess Diana dressed up in drag so she could accompany Freddie Mercury, Kenny Everett and Cleo Rocos to a London gay nightclub? No we'd never heard the story either but according to the new autobiography from actress Rocos this is exactly what happened one night in 1988, when the beloved Princess was at the peak of her fame.

Rocos' new book, entitled The Power of Positive Drinking, mentions the unknown story in some detail, and it seems that the People's Princess knew how to let her hair down from time to time, providing no-one knew who she was. Apparently the group had been drinking champagne all day and decided that they would hit the town but there was a problem, how do you go out round town with the most famous person in the world without people recognising her? You dress that person in drag! Yes, apparently the three of them thought it would be a good idea to dress the would-be future Queen of England in an army jacket, cap, and sunglasses, as no-one would realise who it was. The most bizarre part is, it worked! And Diana was able to spend the night incognito with no one being any the wiser until now.  

According to Rocos’s recollections, the group spent the afternoon before the trip “drinking champagne in front of re-runs of The Golden Girls with the sound turned down” but substituting their own dialogue in instead, when Diana insisted on joining the three out for the night. Fearing the negative headlines that may have been splashed across the front page Everett and Rocos declined to let her join, but Mercury's insistence that they "let the girl have some fun” proved to be the decisive vote. Apparently, she enjoyed her incognito night out so much she asked that they do it again some time soon. Just when you thought you knew someone, eh? 

Continue reading: Princess Diana's Crazy Night Out With Freddie Mercury Revealed In New Book

Cleo Rocos Retells The Brilliant Story Of How She, Freddie Mercury And Kenny Everett Snuck Princess Diana Into A Gay Bar Without Her Being Recognised Once


Diana Princess Of Wales Freddie Mercury Cleo Rocos

This may be one of the finer stories I have had to write in by time at Contact Music, the story of how the late Princess Diana snuck into a London gay club without being detected, all whilst dressed in drag and under the supervision of none other than Freddie Mercury and Kenny Everett. It just isn't the kind of thing you get to write about every day is it?

Princess Diana
Princess Diana remains one of the most well remembered faces of the last century

The story, as retold by Everett's friend and co-star Cleo Rocos (who was there on the night) in her autobiography The Power of Positive Drinking, goes as follows. Following an afternoon of sipping champagne together in the summer of 1988, the four decided that they would hit up one of London's swankier joints that cater for specific tastes, at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. It had always been Mercury and Everett's plan to go to the nightclub later in the day, but the pair were reluctant to take their female counterparts, especially Diana who at this stage was easily one of the most recognisable women on the planet. As you may have figured out, the night didn't end their for the Princess and after Everett initially shot down the idea of having Diana join them, Queen singer Mercury insisted that they "Let the girl have some fun."

Continue reading: Cleo Rocos Retells The Brilliant Story Of How She, Freddie Mercury And Kenny Everett Snuck Princess Diana Into A Gay Bar Without Her Being Recognised Once

Freddie Mercury Documentary: Did We Get Close Enough?


Freddie Mercury Brian May Michael Jackson

The Freddy Mercury documentary promised to be "the closest we’ll get to the real Freddie Mercury", well at least host Alan Yentob promised that. But did we get our close up? According to Gigwise, we did not.

The Arts Desk said, "[Freddie's] shyness and the protective persona, coupled with vigorous policing by the Queen organisation, meant that film-maker Rhys Thomas couldn't add a great deal to what's already known about Mercury." And The Independent were equally down on the doc, saying it was "rather more like a trip down rock memory lane than an hour of revelation or revisionism". The show wasn’t completely devoid of interesting information about the band, for instance: we found out that Mercury fought "like a kid" with Brian May, and that Queen were stuck in a lift when they found out that 'Bohemian Rhapsody' had reached number one, but beyond that, there was no real depth. Or not the depth we were craving, anyway, unless you count the fact that Mercury was supposed to record a collaboration with Michael Jackson but it fell apart because Jackson kept bringing his pet llama into the recording studio as interesting.

Essentially, the documentary is a pleasant watch for a casual fan, looking to gain an extra insight into Freddy, but for you Queen fanatics out there, it’ll probably be a regurgitation of stuff you already spent hours on the internet reading about.


TV Review: 'Freddie Mercury - The Great Pretender', BBC1


Freddie Mercury Queen

How many times do we need to see a documentary on Freddie Mercury? That seemed to be the question on most critics lips as BBC1 aired 'Freddie Mercury - The Great Pretender' last night (October 16, 2012) little more than a year after their excellent Queen documentary. There is no doubting that Mercury is one of the great front man of all time, and you can never get tired of watching footage of him performing live, those great concerts at Wembley and in Rio etched into to the brain of music fans the world over.

Yet, there's only so many times Brian May and Roger Taylor can repeat their incredulity at Mercury's mental strength in the face of deteriorating physical condition. To be clear, there's absolutely no denying that Mercury's battle to the bitter end is something hugely admirable, and there's no way you can doubt May and Taylor's love and admiration for their old band mate; but they're sentiments they've uttered countless times elsewhere. Likewise, Paul Gambaccini is known as a massive Queen and Mercury fan, theire is very little he hasn't said on the band, yet there he was again, doling out the same sentiments. Interview clips of Mercury talking fly by and exhibit his cocky, self-assured personality and a lot of the time that's all you get. The documentary claims to find the contrast between his public and private persona, but we get little further knowledge about that difference apart from the - again - already well told information that he was prone to quiet and private moments.

One pleasant addition was an interview with the opera singer Montserrat Caballe, who is a relatively new voice in documentaries such as these. She revealed surprising little moments like how he stopped kissing her on the cheek after he contracted HIV, his shyness on meeting her, her revelations showing that she was one of the few collaborators Mercury met who he was totally in awe of. It was the best section of a documentary that otherwise ploughed over all-too-familiar ground. There is no doubting Freddie Mercury's legend, but the footage and angles that can be had on it are starting to be recycled.


Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen - Live In Budapest Review


Excellent

Shot in 1986 and only just now remastered for release in the West, this documentary captures Queen in all their glory both on stage and behind the scenes. The film is divided into two parts, opening with a 27-minute exploration of the band in the "magic year" after its triumphant Live Aid performance, during which they recorded an album, scored the adventure movie The Highlander and planned a massive European tour.

Then we cut to their concert in Budapest, their first performance in Hungary, which drew 80,000 fans from throughout the Eastern Bloc. When Freddie Mercury takes the stage, the crowd goes wild, and he holds them in rapturous attention all the way through. He even performs some Hungarian folk music along the way, but they're far more interested in the band's big hits like Radio Gaga and Bohemian Rhapsody, which they sing along with loudly.

Queen rarely gave interviews, so the backstage material in this film is a fascinating glimpse into these musicians, who are all self-effacing and rather cheeky. Mercury even starts flirting with the interviewer, noting that he's not worried about struggling to connect with the foreign crowd. "I always win an audience," he says with a mischievous grin. And during the concert section of the film, we also get to see them getting out and about in Budapest, seeing the sites, meeting locals and generally clowning around.

Continue reading: Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen - Live In Budapest Review

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