He’s understandably circumspect. “There’s a film?” he asks, with a twinkle in his eye when pressed at the launch of his spooky new book, 'Diableries'.
Brian May at the launch of his new book on devilment, 'Diableries'
“Progress is good,” he reveals to HuffPostUK. “You can never say for sure until the contract is signed and the ink is dry, but we think we have our man, we think we have our director, we think we have the script, so those three things will enable that button to be pressed, so hopefully in the next two to three weeks, which is good.”
Speculation has been rife about the identity of the actor to play Freddie, ever since 'The Dictator' Sacha Baron Cohen exited the production earlier this year. Names in the frame include Daniel Radcliffe, who has, however, ruled himself out of the part, and 'Skyfall' actor Ben Whishaw, who became a favourite contender when Queen drummer Roger Taylor revealed the initials 'BW' were a clue.
Who will play Freddie? Brian May confirms the film producers have found their man
The Queen guitarist and badger protector has enough to keep him busy in the meantime. May is known for his astronomy and interest in science, but it’s another passion that’s brought him out this evening, the launch of his book, ‘Diableries’, full of stunning pictures of 19th century studies in devilment, co-written with French photography historian Denis Pellerin.
“This is a 40-year passion of mine, I’ve always wanted to bring them into the 21st century, and this represents the fulfilment of that dream,” explains May.
“There’s art and science in this. The technology in making the things intrigues me, all the thinking in three dimensions. And they’re stories with subtext, satire and humour, and as a piece of art, they’re just something so precious.”
Brian May says of his time with Queen, "It was never about fame and fortune"
Talking of precious treasures leads on to talk of the music much anticipated by fans of both Queen and Michael Jackson, of which so far only tantalising snippets of Jackson and Freddie Mercury singing together have been heard. 22 years after the Queen frontman’s death, May is aware of the responsibility of getting it right:
“It seems to be working fine,” he says. “We’re experienced in weaving these spells around existing fragments because we did it for ‘Made in Heaven’. It’s that feeling of getting hold of something precious and making sure it survives.”
Just like Diableries, in fact. Now, Brian May could be excused for lounging in his LA pad, dipping his toe in the pool of a morning and counting his rock coins, but instead he continues, tirelessly. So what fuels it all?
“I just love doing stuff,” is his simple response. “That’s the reason I did music and Queen, it was never to be rich and famous, that’s why I found this X Factor culture very odd.
“I just love it, to create things and make things and communicate. I’m just as excited about this Diableries book as communicating what I felt about the guitar. It’s the same feeling, let’s create and let’s communicate.”