Cohen had been in talks to play Mercury, but left the biopic after disagreements on the film’s direction.
Queen guitarist Brian May has hit out at Sacha Baron Cohen, calling him an ‘arse’ over his recent comments about the planned Freddie Mercury biopic. Last month Cohen had said he left the film because the remaining members of Queen wanted to make a family friendly biopic, while the actor wanted something grittier.
Brian May has called Sacha Baron Cohen an ‘arse’.
“Sacha became an arse,” May told the Mail on Sunday. “We had some nice times with Sacha kicking around ideas but he went off and told untruths about what happened. Why would he go away and say that we didn’t want to make a gritty film?"
"Are we the kind of people who have ever ducked from the truth? I don’t think so. We decided he wasn’t right for the role for very good reasons, which will become apparent if you watch what he’s done recently. It’s obvious that it wasn’t going to work, him playing Freddie.”
Since Cohen left the project Ben Whishaw has been in talks to play Mercury. “We’re hoping Ben Whishaw will do it. He’s fabulous – a real actor.“ May said. It’s not yet been decided who will be playing May, but the guitarist said they have a ‘great storyline’ for the film.
Speaking about his departure from the film on Howard Stern’s radio show in March, Cohen had said the remaining members of Queen wanted a family-friendly biopic, while he wanted to explore the wilder side of Mercury’s life.
“I understand it, they are a band. They want to protect their legacy as a band. They want it to be about Queen, and I fully understand that,” Cohen told Stern. “[After] my first meeting, I should never have carried on because a member of the band - I won't say who - said, 'This is such a great movie, because such an amazing thing happens in the middle of the movie.'’’
“I go, 'What happens in the middle of the movie?' He goes, ''You know, Freddie dies.' I go, 'So you mean it's a bit like Pulp Fiction, where the end is the middle and the middle is the end? Oh right, that's a wild movie, that's interesting I never thought about that!' He goes, 'No, no normal movie.’"
“So I said, 'Wait a minute. What happens in the second half of the movie?' And he said, 'Well, we see how the band carries on from strength to strength.' And I said, 'Listen, not one person is going to see a movie where the lead character dies from AIDS and then you carry on to see what happens.’''
While Cohen refused to say which member of Queen he had spoken to, Stern speculated that it was guitarist Brian May. “I’m not saying it was Brian May, I am not saying who it was,” Cohen said. “The remaining members are still great musicians. Brian May is an amazing musician.... but he is not a good movie producer.”