- READ MORE: ‘Freddie Mercury: The Final Act’ review: inside the rock god’s prejudice-defying curtain call
The Borat star had been set to play Mercury when the film was announced in September 2010 but in the summer of 2013 he pulled out of the project, claiming that Taylor and guitarist Brian May “wanted to protect their legacy as a band” rather than tell the wilder stories from Mercury’s private life.
Speaking to Classic Rock magazine (per Metro) regarding Baron Cohen, Taylor said: “I think he would have been utter shit. Sacha is pushy, if nothing else.
“He’s also six inches too tall. But I watched his last five films and came to the conclusion he’s not a very good actor.”
He continued: “I might be wrong there. I thought he was an utterly brilliant subversive comedian, that’s what he’s great at. Anyway, I think Rami did a brilliant job in an almost impossible role.”
The role ultimately went to Rami Malek, who won an Oscar for his performance as Mercury. Despite its success, the film was criticised for altering the timeline of events for dramatic effect, including changing the date Mercury told his bandmates he was HIV positive.
However, Taylor argued that the film “didn’t fictionalise the real story, only in detail” and that it simply “messed with the timeline”.
“When you’re making a movie, which is approximately a hundred minutes long, you have to mess with the timeline to make it work,” he explained. “The movie has to work, that’s priority one.”
Last month (November 28), May defended himself after criticism over recent comments regarding the trans community, saying his words were “subtly twisted” by a journalist.