Brian May Says Sacha Baron Cohen Told 'Untruths' About Reasons Behind Failed Freddie Mercury Biopic

Victoria Miller

Brian May is setting the record straight about his band's failed 6-year collaboration with Sacha Baron Cohen on an upcoming biopic about Freddie Mercury and Queen. In an interview with the Daily Mail, May said Cohen became difficult to work with and had very different ideas about the long-awaited project than the rest of the group.

"Sacha became an a*se," Brian May said. "We had some nice times with Sacha kicking around ideas but he went off and told untruths about what happened."

"We decided he wasn't right for the role for very good reasons, which will become apparent if you watch what he's done recently. It's obvious that it wasn't going to work, him playing Freddie. It wouldn't suspend your disbelief. We're hoping Ben Whishaw will do it. He's fabulous – a real actor."

"A member of the band, I won't say who, he said, 'This is such a great movie because it's got such an amazing thing that happens in the middle of the movie,'" Cohen told Stern last month. "I go, 'What happens in the middle of the movie?' He goes, 'Freddie dies.'"

"Why would he go away and say that we didn't want to make a gritty film? Are we the kind of people who have ever ducked from the truth? I don't think so."

Last year, Queen manager Jim Beach excitedly announced that Sacha Baron Cohen would depict Freddie Mercury in the long-awaited Queen biopic, and that the movie star would also write and direct the film. Of course, Baron Cohen had been rumored to be involved in the biopic project well before Beach's official announcement, and Brian May had even denounced him as a star in the biopic back then. Brian previously told Ultimate Classic Rock that the Borat star wouldn't make a good Freddie Mercury because he's too well known for his past movies.

"In the end, we felt that his presence in the movie would be very distracting. What led us to that conclusion was the last three movies that he's made – The Dictator, Les Miserables and Hugo – in which he makes outstanding performances, but they're very much Sacha Baron Cohen performances. And we thought there has to be no distraction in the Freddie movie. You have to really suspend that disbelief – the man who plays Freddie, you have to really believe is Freddie. And we didn't that could really happen with Sacha."

Take a look at the video below to see Sacha Baron Cohen talking to Howard Stern about his failed project with Brian May and Queen.