A Freddie Mercury biopic has been in the works for years, with talk of the proposed film reaching almost as far back as Mercury’s November 24, 1991, passing, and with the extensive legacy Freddie left behind, there’s no shortage of material for the Queen-endorsed project. In fact, the only real question is what Freddie Mercury story is to be told? Freddie the musician and Queen frontman, as guitarist Brian May hopes for, or the story of Mercury’s wild off stage antics, as Sacha Baron Cohen wanted to tell? It’s this question that would ultimately force Cohen off of the project.
Queen Guitarist Brian May Calls Out Sacha Baron Cohen For Being A Liar
Sacha Cohen was set to play Freddie Mercury in the proposed biopic, but he ultimately left the project over creative differences, suggesting the remaining Queen band members weren’t interested in telling an honest story. The actor said Brian May and other Queen musicians wanted to clean up the story of Freddie’s life, even if it meant telling a dishonest story.
Brian May disputes Cohen’s version of events, further infuriated that the actor went to the press with his tale.
“We had some nice times with Sacha kicking around ideas but he went off and told untruths about what happened,” said Queen’s Brian May.
“Why would he go away and say that we didn’t want to make a gritty film,” adds May, revealing his anger. “Sacha became an a—.”
In time, May got together with his fellow Queen bandmates, and they all agreed that Cohen wasn’t really right for the role of Freddie Mercury, even beyond the issue of which Freddie Mercury was to be presented in the biopic. It was clear to all of Queen that Sacha didn’t really understand them and, by extension of that, couldn’t understand Mercury, either.
“Are we the kind of people who have ever ducked from the truth? I don’t think so,” says Brian. “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.”
Who Will Queen Select To Replace Sacha Baron Cohen As Freddie Mercury?
That’s a big question, but Brian May reveals that, although the band has agreed Ben Whishaw would be a believable version of the late Queen frontman, they’re really hoping the film’s director will take care of the casting. Who’s the director? Well, to be honest, they don’t have a director, either. The Freddie Mercury biopic is still in its infancy, with May still working on the script, but May is hopeful that things will be coming together very soon.
“It’s a tough one,” the Queen guitarist says of choosing a new Freddie Mercury. “We’ll have a director – although we still haven’t signed one up – and then hopefully we can step back and just look after the music side of it.”
Brian also wants fans to sleep easy with the knowledge that they’re staying involved with the project from beginning to the final film to ensure Queen and Mercury himself are respected in the film.
“We have arrived at a great storyline. But the film’s not going out till it’s right.”
There’s no arguing that Mercury left behind a grand legacy, which has been carried on with great care by the surviving members of Queen. The band has a long list of hit singles, including such rock anthems as “Killer Queen,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Are The Champions,” “We Will Rock You,” and “Radio Ga Ga,” which is evidenced by the over 300 million albums sold worldwide. While money may not be the primary motivator for Queen, it has always been a nice way of gauging their success, says Brian May, who currently has an estimated wealth of £85 million.
“They used to ask Freddie if he liked having money,” says May. “And Freddie’d say, ‘Yes darling, because it means that people like what I do.'”
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