By now, we all know what movie Bohemian Rhapsody is. But, before the Bryan Singer film that earned Rami Malek his Oscar, the Freddie Mercury biopic could have gone a very different path, with Sacha Baron Cohen as the lead singer of Queen and Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons) directing.
Roger Taylor, drummer of the British band, has spoken to Classic Rock magazine and shared his impressions on that project (via Metro). And those impressions aren’t positive, to the point that Taylor isn’t shy about describing it as “utter shit.”
“Sacha is pushy, if nothing else. He’s also six inches too tall,” Taylor begins. And he continues to vent: “I watched his last five films and came to the conclusion he’s not a very good actor.” “I might be wrong there,” he admits, “I thought he was an utterly brilliant subversive comedian, that’s what he’s great at.”
According to Frears’ statements, yes, the dissent between Sacha Baron Cohen and the surviving members of Queen had nothing to do with his acting talent. According to the director, Baron Cohen wanted Bohemian Rhapsody to be much more excessive, in keeping with Mercury’s character, than the sanitized portrait that ended up on screen.
On the other hand, both Taylor and Brian May wanted the life of Freddie Mercury to occupy only half of the film, continuing with Queen’s career after the death of the lead singer. “Not one person is going to see a movie where the lead character dies from AIDS and then you carry on to see the band,” Baron Cohen noted at the time.