03/27/2002 at 01:00 AM EST
Robert De Niro, 58 , flew to London this week to watch a run-through of the futuristic new musical centered around the catalogue of Queen tunes he's helping to bring to the West End this May, reports Reuters. "I think it is going to be terrific," De Niro told the news agency. The unlikely collaboration between the tough-guy actor and the surviving members of the rock group Queen (lead singer Freddie Mercury died of AIDS in 1991) has been in the works for six years. The $10.7 million musical "We Will Rock You" got its start at a chance meeting between De Niro and Queen band members Brian May and Roger Taylor at a party held at the 1996 Venice Film Festival, reports Reuters. "I knew it would be a great idea once it was gotten right for a musical," the actor, who is backing the production with his Tribeca Productions company, told Reuters. The new musical, scripted by British comedian Ben Elton, takes place in a futuristic world where everyone watches the same movies, wears the same clothes and listens to computerized music, reports Reuters. Queen's music figures into the story as form of resistance to a ban placed on musical instruments. The surviving members of Queen agree that their late lead singer would have approved. "Freddie would have loved it," Taylor told Reuters. "He was a very theatrical character."