Yesterday’s widely reported story about Queen manager Jim Beach’s confirmation that Sacha Baron Cohen had returned to the Freddie Mercury biopic as writer, director, and star has come undone. The disappointing revelation came via Queen guitarist Brian May, who issued a denial after reading a story about the remarks:
“It doesn’t mention a small joke that Jim threw in during his acceptance speech. He said that, in response to enquiries about the progress on the Freddie feature film, that Sacha Baron Cohen had been re-engaged to write, produce, and direct the film, as well as starring in all four major roles ! I’m afraid some folks might have taken it seriously !”
Talk about a crushing blow to the forces of joy. May said nothing else on the matter, so there is no indication if the film is any closer to becoming a reality with another creative force at the helm or if they’ve got another actor in mind to play Mercury.
Previously, Dexter Fletcher had been on-board to direct and Peter Morgan had written the script, with Cohen set to star. Ben Whishaw then replaced Borat, but he and Fletcher later departed separately, and from the outside looking in, it seems like the project is creatively adrift now. And if the rumors are true about the creative differences between Cohen and Mercury’s Queen bandmates over the tone of the film — with Cohen advocating a “gritty R-rated tell-all” while the band wanted a “PG movie about Queen” — maybe its best if it stays that way.
Source: Brian May