Comedian in talks with Queen members again and is set to write, direct and star in biopic
The stalled Queen biopic that was set to feature Sacha Baron Cohen in the lead role is back in action with the Borat and Ali G creator due to write, direct and star as the legendary frontman in the movie. The project, which has been in development for the past six years has been off and on due to alleged arguments between Baron Cohen and surviving Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor about the tone and approach, culminating in Baron Cohen leaving the project two years ago.
As reported in Metro, Queen’s manager Jim Beach confirmed the “important breakthrough” of Baron Cohen’s renewed involvement after he received the Peter Grant accolade for Outstanding Achievement at the Artist and Manager Awards in London last week.
Baron Cohen has been set to star as Mercury since the film was announced in September 2010 but pulled out two summers ago, reportedlybecause he and the surviving Queen members were unable to agree on the type of movie they wanted to make. Queen drummer Roger Taylor said: “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.”
May denied Baron Cohen left the project on bad terms at the time, telling Classic Rock, “It’s quite difficult to talk about because we owe Sacha a lot. He had so much enthusiasm for the project and it really helped us kick it into the start position. But in the end we felt that his presence in the movie would be very distracting.”
Previous names rumoured to have replaced Baron Cohen in the lead role were Skyfall actor Ben Whishaw and Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe who quickly denied rumours, saying: “I am completely wrong for that part!”
The film doesn’t appear to have a schedule or potential release date yet but will likely be the next project Cohen works on after current film Grimsby is complete. Baron Cohen is still filming the controversial new movie, which has come under criticism for its portrayal of the Lincolnshire town of the same name.