Sacha Baron Cohen Leaves Freddie Mercury Film After Queen Clash
by Ethan Anderton
July 23, 2013
Borat and Brüno star Sacha Baron Cohen has been attached to a biopic about Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury since September of 2010. However, any real development on the project has been scarce with the most recent update surfacing in March about director Tom Hooper circling the project. Now a report from Deadline comes with some troubling news that Cohen is leaving the project over creative differences with the surviving members of the band (Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon), who are producing the film and have script/director approval. The problem is how they want to tell Mercury's story.
Reportedly, the band is looking for a more PG movie about Queen and Mercury while Cohen was hoping to tell a more dramatic, gritty story with all the details on display, for better or worse. Cohen has been trying to make the project work with a script from The Queen and Frost/Nixon writer Peter Morgan and directors like Hooper and even David Fincher, but that didn't do it for the classic rock band. Honestly, it's easy to see why the band wants a more fluffy story about their history, but if you're turning down Oscar winning/nominated talent like Morgan, Fincher and Hooper, then something is wrong. Cohen is the spitting image of Mercury, not to mention having impressive singing chops, so it'll be interesting to see if this project ever gets off the ground without him. What do you think?