Sacha Baron Cohen Quits Freddie Mercury Movie

The Borat actor has clashed with the band over the storyline and quit - but why, when the whole biopic was his idea?

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A movie based on the life of Queen singer Freddie Mercury was supposed to start filming two years ago, but has hit another major roadblock now its star Sacha Baron Cohen has quit.

The "Borat" actor was a driving force in bringing the biopic to life, but has grown unhappy with developments after clashing with the band over the storyline.

According to Deadline, "the band wanted to make more of a PG movie about Queen while Cohen was counting on a gritty R-rated tell-all centered around the gifted gay singer."

Cohen had brought in writers and directors early in the process to encourage the band to give the movie the green light, but the dispute over creative differences could now bring the project to a standstill.

It's a dramatic change of tune since 2011 when Queen guitarist Brian May was singing the praises of Cohen:

"Sacha does seem perfect. If it hadn't been for Sacha pushing and pushing, we wouldn't be at this point. We didn't choose him. He chose us," May said. "He is passionate about playing Freddie. For years, he's been saying he is going to do it."

Can you think of anyone else who would suit the Freddie Mercury role? Have the band been too strict with their legacy? Let us know in the comments below.

67 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I really wanted Cohen to do this movie. Still, at least he stuck to his principles and left when someone tried to censor him.
    Or could it be that the band wanted to tell the story the way it happened and the guys from Hollywood want to tell their own story....??
    While I'm not privy to all the behind-the-scenes details, from what I know, a PG version would be glossing over a lot. I'm really disappointed he backed out, but I'd rather see it not get made than have some phony version of his story get told.
    However I do think a PG rating is overkill, I don't think you could accurately portray his life if it has to be a Disney movie. PG-13 would be the best I think. IT could be accurate without being in-your-face.
    "can anybody find me somebody to love" haha pretty obvious that he was suffering as a result of the homophobia present in those days, its a massive detail to this story, and while they dont need to go brokeback mountain style it is clearly important to implicate sexuality ESPECIALLY considering the man had HIV and brought awareness for those issues right out into the rock-n-roll public eye
    Exactly what I was saying. You don't have to have R-Rated sex scenes in order to show his sexuality. While he was alive, Mercury was open about his sexuality but preferred to keep his relationships out of the public eye. I just think that that should be honored even though he is dead.
    I disagree, I think that if it was made into an R movie, that Freddie's sexual relationships would take more of a spotlight than they should. I honestly don't care at all what was going on in his bedroom. If go to see a Freddie Mercury movie, it's going to be because of Freddie the musician, not because I want to see some tabloid-esque exploration into his sexuality.
    Like it or not, it was an important part of his life - and his death. You can't make a film about a homosexual in the 70s without dealing with his sexuality and how he was treated/affected because of it.
    I'm not saying that his homosexuality should be ignored, I'm saying that I don't think that the movie should make that what defines Freddie. I think he would much rather be remembered for his immense musical talent than his sexual orientation. Why does it even matter? Also I'd rather not be treated to Freddie Mercury sex scenes; they can make it clear that he's gay without having to demonstrate it for us.
    He once said " Im just an old slag who gets up every morning, scratches his head and wonders what he wants to ****." Just like Winnie The Slag. How do you make that a PG movie? Cohen is a respectable guy. He would only make anything if he thought it was within the margins he finds acceptable. I have complete faith in his work ethic and decision. I'm also very disappointed in the band if it really was their feeling that the film should be a PG. Sadly, not very surprised though.
    Rob Schneider is FREDDIE! Rated PG-13
    Rob Schneider is ... a carrot. You never know what he's going to do next
    I thought The Stapler was a much better film. The plot was just so perfectly written. Rob Schneider at his best
    Would it be wrong to assume that the band wanted a more PG-13 film because it'd generate a greater profit? Freddy's life in Queen was both fantastic and rough at the same time, and if the band isn't willing to show both sides of the story then I don't see the point in making the bloody film in the first place.
    A friend of mine on Facebook brought up a good point - Why make the film accessible to a bunch of dumb tweens who don't even appreciate the value of Queen's music? And if the reason is to try and "make Queen cool" to that age group, then prepare for a movie in which One Direction stars as Queen.....
    I've been looking forward to this film ever since it was announced, and now with Cohen quitting the project, we'll all have to wait so much longer. It really is a shame, because he would've played the role appropriate to how Freddie lived his life, and would still have been very respectful about the entire matter. PS, Freddie was bisexual not gay.
    Cohen was looking for an oscar performance. I personally, would like to see an R-rate "truth" and not a PG one.
    I didn't even know this was in the works! He could've done this so well. Sadly the movie wont work without him. Noone could play this role the way i know he would.
    Damn, I've been waiting for this film since it was announced and know I'm heavily disappointed to see one of my favorite actors quit the film. Sad, isn't it. :/
    Another one bites the dust! If Sacha is out then I feel a lot of other people are as well. You cannot make a bio pic more family friendly when the person you are basing it on is Freddie Fucking Mercury!
    Even though I think Sacha Baron Cohen is great for the roll of Freddie Mercury (considering his experience in acting), I also think that Brandon Flowers from the rock band The Killers could be a possible alternative for this roll. I hope Sacha Baron Cohen changes his mind thou.
    Tsss sounds like they don't want to tell the whole truth, but a Hollywood one. #fail
    Their music is accessible to everyone, I can understand them wanting a film about Freddie to be that way as well.
    Who cares about this movie!!!! As a real Queen fan, I'd rather see a documented DVD collectors box set by the Band with interviews, tons of rare full shows especially in their prime and other bells and whistles sort of the way Kiss did Kissology. It's all about the music here anyway. It's their band and I'm glad they stuck to their guns!
    Who really wants to see a Rock Bio-pic with a PG rating? I like the freedom of a strong R or even a NC-17 rating. Great bands with great legacies deserve that kind of freedom in the telling of their history. I don't want to see Disney presents Led Zeppelin or Pixar's G.G. Allin. I think Sasha would do a fantastic job of portraying Freddie Mercury.
    ZOSO <(")
    ..... I don't know about you guys, but I don't want to watch a "gritty, R-rated, tell all" movie about a gay guy. I don't hate. I'd just rather not end up watching something resembling gay porn.... Juss sayin.
    Do most of the films/biopics about straight people you have seen resemble pornography? I doubt it - even films which advertise themselves as 'gritty' etc. and include a look at the character's sexuality are usually handled in a tasteful way. I hate to say it, don't want this to turn into an argument, but your fears convey homophobia (and I don't want to point out the relevance of your avatar).
    "the band wanted to make more of a PG movie about Queen while Cohen was counting on a gritty R-rated tell-all centered around the gifted gay singer." I'd much rather watch Sacha's version. Can you MAKE a PG movie about Queen and have it still be accurate?
    I can't think of anybody better than Sacha Baron Cohen to play Freddy Mercury. I'm still waiting on the Lenny Kravitz Jimi Hendrix biopic hahaha
    well the one who should have the final word is Queen not Cohen... yeah he may want to an R-rated movie of Freddie Mercury's life but if the people who actually lived and worked with Mercury want to a different movie then bullshit is loose... oh and some stuff shouldn't be let out in the light!!
    Can the Baron sing? I feel like that would be important to the part.
    If whatever actor they do end up with has to mime, my vote is for Freddie Nelson to provide the vocals.
    He also was in Les Miserables, if you don't know what it is you must have lived in a barrel
    Ah it's Hollywood. They will do a cop-out and hire Nicholas Cage, it's what they seem to do for everything nowadays.
    Way Cool JR.
    I personally didn't think he fit the part at all anyways. Honestly I can't think of anybody right off hand that could portray him properly.
    Dang, I was excited about this. I can see both sides. There probably was an edgy story to tell that SBC wanted to dive into... at the same time, I can see why the Queen guys wouldn't want that to be the focus. What happened to the movie in which Andre 3000 plays Jimi Hendrix? Is that still a go?