UPDATE: Queen’s Brian May is now saying on his website that Beach’s comment was a joke: “but it doesn’t mention a small joke that Jim threw in during his acceptance speech. He said that, in response to enquiries about the progress on the Freddie feature film, that Sacha Baron Cohen had been re-engaged to write, produce, and direct the film, as well as starring in all four major roles ! I’m afraid some folks might have taken it seriously!” The original story follows:
It’s been a long road to get a movie made about the late frontman of rock band Queen, Freddie Mercury, with many configurations of actor and director being attached over the years.
One of the actors slated to play Mercury early on, and possibly the most promising, was the man behind Borat, Bruno and other controversial characters, Sacha Baron Cohen, but before that proposed film could be made, Cohen left the project in 2013 due to creative differences.
On Thursday, night The Daily Mail (via The Playlist) attended the Artist & Management Awards in London where Queen’s manager Jim Beach stated that they’ve come to an agreement with Cohen to write, produce, direct and star as Mercury in the long-in-development project.
At the awards, Beach told the audience: “You have probably followed the saga of the famous Queen-Freddie Mercury biopic which has been developing in Hollywood for the last seven years. An important breakthrough is that we have now managed to persuade Sacha Baron Cohen to write, produce and direct this movie, and he has also agreed to star.”
Previously, Ben Whishaw, Q in the James Bond franchise, had been attached, as had been Daniel Radcliffe, and some of the directors whose names had been bandied about included Stephen Frears, Tom Hooper and even David Fincher.
If the project happens, it would be Cohen’s feature film directorial debut, and it clearly would mean that Queen and Mercury’s estate have finally been convinced that the comedic actor might be able to do something in a different vein than the roles for which he’s become known.