Hail To The Queen
    • MONDAY, MAY 07, 2007

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    Sad. We just got word that Sacha Baron Cohen will NOT be playing Freddie Mercury, although the actor's singing skills will still be displayed in Tim Burton's next project - a silver-screen rendition of the musical "Sweeney Todd." Johnny Depp, who is still being considered for the Freddie Mercury role, will be playing the the title character in Burton's film. Alan Rickman and Helena Bonham Carter also have key roles, so look for that movie in early 2008. Still no word on a release date for the Queen movie, though... We suppose they have to actually cast it first.

    And speaking of Queen, the surviving bandmates have learned a thing or two about reality TV since their cameo on American Idol last year. The band's music has been used exclusively in a musical entitled "We Will Rock You", and the show has received enough positive feedback to warrant a number of tours across the world. Now, audiences in places like Bolivia, Chile, and South Africa can experience this music-filled story that "takes place in a tongue-in-cheek dystopian future where originality and individuality are shunned, and a lone "Dreamer" appears who can fulfil a prophecy that will enable the return of rock 'n roll." Hmmm. Sounds like something from a Styx lyric sheet.

    Anyway, guitarist Brian May has been very involved in the audition/casting process, but he draws the line at turning the experience into a reality TV show. "We were asked," May recently told WhatsOnStage.com, "but we said no. We all feel that TV auditioning would be contrary to the spirit of our show. It's actually an appalling lowering of standards, this whole TV-dominated culture. I promise you will never find us on some panel bullying and ridiculing young performers – I personally detest that kind of thing, and I think it's a shame that the public puts up with it." May concluded with: "How could you possibly expect to get the best performers this way? No self-respecting professional actor or actress would lower themselves to go in for this kind of humiliation. The best actors and singers will stay away."

    Amen! Meanwhile, we're kinda dreading tomorrow's installment of Idol, where Barry Gibb will coach the four remaining contestants who reportedly represent America's best crop of young talent. If Blake remixes "Night Fever," he's dead to us.

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