Just on a superficial level, I find Sacha Baron Cohen attractive. He’s tall, he’s handsome, he has warm, intelligent eyes. But then there’s his personality… while some people might admire his genius and leave it at that (and truly, I believe he probably is a genius), there’s something very tightly-wound about Sacha that is a turn-off for me. He seems like he makes everything about HIM. Everything is his way. Everything must be done according to his instructions, no compromises, no collaborations. It seems like his marriage (to Isla Fisher) is that way too, but what do I know.
Anyway, Sacha has been attached to a Freddie Mercury bio-pic for a while. Again, superficially, this is a great fit. Sacha LOOKS so much like Freddie Mercury and I have no problem believing that Sacha could legitimately pull off Freddie’s physicality and his stage persona, as well as Freddie’s pathos. But! Sacha wanted the film to be one way, and the remaining members of Queen wanted it another way. So, long story short, Sacha is out.
Sacha Baron Cohen is just not seeing eye to eye with the remaining members of Queen who have script and director approval over that biopic on iconic lead singer Freddie Mercury.
That film had Cohen circling the role but I’ve just learned he’s now pulled out. The reason is that 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 gifted gay singer.
Given the astonishing physical resemblance, it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing Freddie but Sacha. Cohen had brought in Peter Morgan to write and various directors including David Fincher and Tom Hooper to develop the project for himself. However, none were approved by the band.
Film is set at Sony Pictures and GK Films and Cohen has long been attached to play Mercury. But because of the dispute over ‘creative differences’ no formal offer could go out to Hooper who’d just worked with Sacha on Best Picture Oscar nominee Les Miserables. Graham King and Tim Headington are producing with Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal and Queen Films.
My take is that this project is probably going to die a slow death now that Sacha has exited. I just don’t see how they could find any other actor who could play Mercury the same way or better. So, did the band tell Sacha to take a hike or was this a case of Sacha not being able to play well with others and join a collaborative process?
Photos courtesy of WENN.