entertainment

Johnny Flynn explains why he quit Queen film We Will Rock You

"I’m not into music biopics because they create a spectacle around someone who is already a spectacle."

2021-01-06

Words: Jamie Tabberer; pictures: Universal Pictures/EMI

Actor Johnny Flynn has explained why he left the Queen film We Will Rock You.

Talk of the movie, which has had the likes of Sacha Baron Cohen and Ben Whishaw attached to the role of late frontman Freddie Mercury, has swirled for years.

Flynn - soon to be seen as David Bowie in biopic Stardust - says he was cast as Queen's drummer Roger Taylor before exiting the film.

"The script kept changing"

In an interview with The Times, the Emma star said: "[Stardust] began with an email from [the film’s director] Gabriel Range and the headline: Do you want to play Bowie? And the answer was, ‘No. Absolutely not.’

"I’m not into music biopics because they create a spectacle around someone who is already a spectacle. I had been cast as Roger Taylor in the Queen film [We Will Rock You] and as it went from Sacha Baron Cohen to Ben Whishaw playing Freddie, the script kept changing to something more homogenised and less interesting until eventually I pulled out.

"So I was reticent about playing Bowie. It seemed like a poisoned chalice.”

Queen eventually got the movie treatment with 2018's Bohemian Rhapsody; Rami Malek of course won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance as Mercury.

Stardust has attracted controversy as it has not received Bowie's family's blessing, and will not feature his music.

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