Queen on Why Sacha Baron Cohen Quit Freddie Mercury Biopic: 'We Didn't Want It to Be a Joke'

"Borat" actor pulled out of the project over the summer following 'creative differences' with Queen.

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Queen's Roger Taylor has opened up about Sacha Baron Cohen's exit from the long-planned biopic of Freddie Mercury. The "Borat" actor had been attached to star as Mercury since the film was announced in September 2010 but this summer he pulled out of the project, reportedly because he and Queen, who have script and director approval, were unable to agree on the type of movie they wanted to make. Now Taylor has revealed the reasons why, telling Mojo (via NME): "We felt Sacha probably wasn't right in the end. We didn't want it to be a joke. We want people to be moved." The drummer also shared his frustration with the amount of time the Mercury biopic is taking to reach the screen, saying: "I thought the music business was slow, but this has been like swimming in treacle." Screenwriter Peter Morgan ("The Queen," "Frost/Nixon") had been attached to pen the film's script but earlier this month (September) he claimed the biopic is "probably not going to happen" following Baron Cohen's exit. However, one of the film's producers Graham King has since told Digital Spy that the project is "still very much alive." Meanwhile, over the weekend (September 23) it was reported that "Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe is being lined up to play Mercury now that Baron Cohen has vacated the role.

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    DaNiC700
    So in order not to make the movie a joke they're attaching Daniel Radcliffe to it? Although I think he's a fine actor having him as Freddy Mercury is strange because he is still etched in our minds as Harry Potter, unlike Sacha Baron who looks pretty different from film to film. Not to mention that Radcliffe still kinda looks like a kid
    Kaseke
    Have you even seen him since the last HP movie? I don't he looks that much of a kid anymore.. That said, I still don't want him as Freddy..
    JAHellraiser
    My main problem is that Sacha Baron Cohen kinda looks like Freddie, where as Radcliffe? ehh no, that'd be like casting Patrick Stewart to play BB King.
    Zinop
    Sacha was just perfect for this role and in the other hand Sacha Baron said that Queen members doesn't want to show pure truth, prefer to miss some facts coz they want to make movie for everyone (kids etc...)
    cemerson2012
    As much as I would have loved to see him play Freddie,he could have acted his a** off and been great, however given his catalog of other films, people would have a hard time taking it seriously. It's a shame because the story is too good to not be told.
    Dr. Knox666
    "people would have a hard time taking it seriously" Ah well I thought the same thing when Breaking Bad came out with Bryan Cranston as the badass. Before that I only knew him as Hal in Malcolm in the Middle and I just thought WTF! But the guy pulled it off pretty well.
    plindqui
    This is a little different though because Bryan Cranston didn't have the iconography that Radcliffe has as Harry Potter. Sure fans of Malcolm in the Middle saw him as Hal and first, but a good number of people were seeing him as an actor for the first time. Radcliffe has been known as the face of probably the most famous fictional character of this generation for 10+ years. It's hard to shake that
    suffersystem
    Things is though, he may act his ass off, but from the article he had a different idea of how the movie was going to be, so obviously he may have wanted it perhaps less serious. I for one think Radcliffe may do a fine job, the guy can act from what I have been told. Not much of a Harry Potter fan, so I think he could pull it off.
    svelle
    From what I have understood Cohen wanted it to be way more serious than Queen wanted it to be, because he wanted it to be mostly a Biopic about Freddie and not about Queen.
    TheWickerMan666
    I had the same understanding. Freddie Mercury wanted it to be a bit darker and serious, but Queen wanted it to be "family-friendly", from what I heard.
    cemerson2012
    Less serious? I have a hard time believing that the project with Queen would have continued as long as it did with Cohen invisioning a not so serious performance of their late frontman's life and death.
    fromzero
    He quit because they didn't want to tarnish Freddie's name. They didn't want anything deep, emotional or overly dramatic and he wanted the story to be moving, interesting and honest. They want to keep Freddie looking like an angel, while that does leave everyone with good memories of a cherished frontman, it doesn't guarantee an interesting story.
    Dude475
    I can totally see Cohen with that mustache he had in Borat playing mercury.
    mitchy86
    I understand why they didn't want him in the end, it's like seeing robin from HIMYM in the avengers, but daniel radcliffe? i respect him but seriously?
    not-human00
    Sacha is a fantastic actor and I believe he was the best person to fill the role. Anybody that's watched anything other than his own piss take movies would know this. If Taylor thinks Sacha can't move people then he should have no say in the movies casting. It should also be a late teen/adult movie due to Freddie's lifestyle. Don't want this to turn out like some disney shit.
    jamie_hough
    It will... I think Taylor & May want it to go in a "We will Rock You" for the big screen direction. And that will blow chunks.
    dec666
    I heard a couple of weeks back that Cohen actually quit because Queen didn't want the film to contain Freddie's battle with AIDS which I thought was stupid but honestly nobody actually knows except the people involved with the film.
    Anty 7
    The last time this movie made the news they were saying Cohen wanted it to be more serious and centered on Mercury. Now Taylor is giving some crappy excuse because they actually wanted the movie to be more flattering for the rest of the band perhaps?
    handsomedevil93
    The reason Baron Cohen left is because Queen is trying to sugar coat Freddie's life and career. Quite sad really, would've been great to see with Baron Cohen.
    haifisch234
    Now the whole movie(if it will be out at all) will probably turn into a joke, because of not giving Cohen a chance.
    Mkorn
    what joke ? one of the funny things in cohen's movies is that he does all his acts with a straight face
    Mkorn
    what joke ? the funniest thing in cohen's movies is that he does all those stuff with a straight face