Sacha Baron Cohen Won’t Play Watered Down Freddie Mercury, Quits Film Bio

SBCWith the possible exceptions of David Bowie and Elton John, it’s a challenge to name a ’70s-era rock star more flamboyant than the late and indisputably amazing Freddie Mercury. Therefore fans were excited when Sacha Baron Cohen (himself no stranger to excess) was intent on playing the great Queen vocalist in a film biography, but now it seems that’s not going to happen, after all. The actor who embodied Borat and Bruno and who’s demonstrated solid musical chops in films such Les Miserables and Sweeney Todd has split from the project due to creative differences with the surviving members of Queen, according to Deadline.

Mercury, who died of AIDS-related causes in 1991, led a very complicated life and Cohen wanted to depict him accurately. However, as Deadline reports, “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 gay singer.” This begs the question: Who the hell would want to watch a PG-rated film about Freddie Mercury?

Cohen had reportedly interested some A-list directors in the project including David Fincher and Tom Hooper and had screenwriter Peter Morgan (Oscar-nominated, coincidentally, for The Queen) on board. Now it’s unknown what will happen to the project.

Do you think the project should the project be abandoned? If not, tell us who you think can play Freddie in the comments section.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #davidfincher #freddiemercury #gaycinema stories and more


  • Fitz

    I would rather that the story not be told than be told by this homophobic douche.

  • d4divine

    @Fitz: I missed something, where does the article say that Cohen is homophobic?

  • Fitz

    His life.. google it

  • Red Meat

    @d4divine: Oh don’t you know? Playing a flamboyant gay man is homophobic because flamboyant gay men like the first poster are self-loathers, thus its making fun of them.

  • Jackhoffsky

    @Fitz: He made a film where the entire point was to expose homophobia and according to this story here… he wanted to play Freddy Mercury with more reality.

    Neither of those say he’s “homophobic”. It actually says “projection” (personal opinion).

  • fredo777

    I think this is bullsh*t. I agree with Cohen that the film should be accurate to Freddie’s life. Nobody wants to watch some kid-friendly tripe.

  • MK Ultra

    Let me guess, they wanted to make Mercury a pussy chasing hetero.
    I agree with Cohen. Freddie’s life wasn’t PG, so why insult him by telling a Disney version of his life?

  • andy_d

    @fredo777: AND kudos to Cohen for his artistic and personal integrity where this is concerned.

  • tardis

    How ballsy of him!

  • JT Hawkins

    Good for Mr. Cohen! Do not whitewash our history!

  • hard2hold99

    PATHETICALLY DEFINED! Freddy lived in years of closet while jumping in and out- whos to say what would be historically accurate. He was a musical genius. He appeared to love his man and he feared the hate of homo killers
    who were a reality then as they still are now. There must be a way to do him justice.

  • GeriHew

    Freddie Mercury was bisexual. His life was very complicated. Simply depicting him as gay in a bio-pic wouldn’t be accurate.

  • WhyteRabbit

    @Red Meat: did you see bruno? oh, and by the way… stating that the first poster self-loathing and flamboyant based on nothing other than distaste for a (horrible) actor is at LEAST as homophobic as bruno was.

  • WhyteRabbit

    oh… and all i really have to say about sbc stepping out of this project is: thank god! i was so sad to hear he had been cast. it completely ruined any possibilities this film had for me.

  • Spike

    Would appear that the members of Queen attached to the project are looking for a watered down story that would be commercial success and profitable vrs one what would be a factual representation, controversial and a lower box office.

  • angeltech6000

    You are being far too dramatic. Sacha Cohen is no homophobe. What we should question is why the surviving members of “Queen” are going on tour with Adam Lambert and wish to make a commercially successful movie about Freddie Mercury even if it means not mentioning a thing about who Freddie really was.

  • angeltech6000

    Gay people deny bisexuals constantly. Why would Freddie not jump in and out of a closet circa 1965-1980? Gay people are often as harsh as straight people when in comes to bisexuality. Be thankful that you can be gay now. You have the luxury of not having to live an “alternative” lifestyle in the public eye 30-40 years ago.

  • Biff

    During the ‘Bruno’ movie, Cohen actually ejected the high pressure contents of a fire extinguisher inside the rectum of another actor – injuring the actor – as “satirical commentary” on the lives of kinky gay men. GLAAD and the probable fire extinguisher manufacturer issued comments condemning the incident. Media Rights Capital and NBC/Universal (the film’s producers and distributor) refused to comment. And SAG-AFTRA claimed no knowledge of the incident and sent a link to their safety page.


    Someone had to think fire extinguishers and gay men’s rectums were a humorous combination. If someone had done that to a child, a woman, an animal, there would be outrage.

    I offer this up as actual evidence of Sacha Baron Cohen being out of touch (this very generous) about gay men. Discuss….or disgust.

  • Kerry

    Whoever views this should seek out killer Queen Australia. The guys are the best Queen performers ever. The front man John Blunt literally embodies Freddy Mercury. He looks, talks and sings just like him He’s uncanny. He would be perfect for the role. They are on FB and always have sold out concerts and are based in Brisbane. They have performed all over the country and in Singapore. Absolutely brilliant.

  • justgeo

    Hey all yes Freddie was ‘frightened’ maybe homophobic. I am from that generation too
    most guys weren’t as self loathing as today would like to think in music and when you Farci (sp) exceptional and in an industry that had been supported by Hippie homo haters YES they loved lesbians but gay men aaaaauuuuhhhh?????
    But more to the point the movie should some of all of the man and certainly though ‘under wraps’ % wise Freddie was a full on Queen in every Royal sense of the word so lets see and show and celebrate THAT n light of today’s much less glorious way of living out loud!!!!!!!

Comments are closed.