Update: The Wrap has now reported on this story and said that they have their own sources who claim that The Daily Star’s sources are bunk. According to them, producers on the project have yet to even gauge Radcliffe’s interest in taking the role, and the reports that he’s been offered it are, as of now, false.
Due to the bushy stache and impressive welcome mat of body hair Sacha Baron Cohen became known for showing off whenever he was playing his Bruno character, there was never really any question as to whether or not he could look the part while playing Freddie Mercury in a biopic of the legendary Queen frontman. Given the fact that he’s best known for playing broadly comedic characters, there was always a question as to whether or not he could play the role in a serious movie and not have it come off like a comedy skit though.
Either way, whether or not Cohen is right for the part of Mercury is now a moot point, because creative differences he has with the film’s producers over its script (which is being penned by Frost/Nixon’s Peter Morgan) have forced him to drop out of the project altogether. Reportedly, Cohen felt that some of the other forces helping to steer the project were going too far in glossing over Mercury’s flamboyant lifestyle. According to a report from The Daily Star, the people behind the Mercury biopic have now offered the role to another actor, but he’s a name who comes with his own unique set of concerns.
The UK paper reports that Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe has been told that the Mercury part is his if he wants it, and apparently producers are so high on his acting ability that they’re willing to give him a pretty big payday to entice him to come on board. Why such a young lad to play such a large personality full of such visceral, sexual energy? The Star’s source explained, “Despite his youth, Daniel impressed movie bosses with his portrayal of gay poet Allen Ginsburg in this year’s movie Kill Your Darlings. Plus, he’s closer in height to Freddie than Sacha, who’s much taller. Daniel can really sing, too.”
Closer in height, talent for singing—yes, yes—but does Radcliffe have what it takes to grow a mustache worthy of Mercury’s, which is one of the most iconic face caterpillars of all time? He appeared modestly whiskered with the mustache above for the BBC’s My Boy Jack, but if he wants to look believable belting out Queen songs, he’s going to have to do better than that. Perhaps producers can fly out Nick Offerman or someone to start putting him through mustache training, should he decide to take the part. Which, hopefully he does, because Daniel Radcliffe as Freddy Mercury sounds like it could be the most fun thing that’s happened since Michael Douglas played Liberace.