The long-gestated Freddie Mercury biopic has lost its star. Sacha Baron Cohen was set to play Freddie Mercury and has quit the film project. Apparently, Cohen had disagreements with the three remaining band members of Queen over what story to tell and what form it would take.
Given what we’ve heard about those creative differences, it is easy to see why Cohen (Borat) left the movie. Band members, including guitarist Brian May, wanted a PG-rated, family friendly take on Mercury’s life and Cohen wanted to put it all out there. Given how Mercury died of AIDS in an era where he could not come out of the closet, the potential for a powerful look at a life most extraordinary will not happen.
Whether or not the band and Mercury’s family will pursue another actor remains to be seen. Only time will tell whether it will happen, but in this writer’s opinion, if there’s someone who deserves the big screen version of their life story, it’s the icon that is Mercury.