It was announced back in the fall of 2010 that Sacha Baron Cohen would be playing the lead in a Freddie Mercury biopic, but it has recently been reported that the actor, who bears a striking resemblance to the music legend, just pulled out of the project due to creative differences with the remaining members of Queen. Apparently Baron Cohen envisioned a gritty, R-rated film that follows the band’s formative years up until Queen’s memorable performance at Live AID in 1985. He was pulling the talents of directors David Fincher and Tom Hooper, who worked with Baron Cohen on the Oscar-nominated musical Les Miserables, to help with the development of the movie and Peter Morgan, writer of such dramas as Frost/Nixon and The Last King of Scotland, was working on the script. The members of Queen, however, wanted to make a more PG film and refused to approve of Baron Cohen’s choices for directing.
The biopic would have marked a drastic change in Baron Cohen’s usual comedic roles, offering him a chance to showcase a more serious character and possibly giving him a chance to show off his vocal ability. The film’s rights package included some of Queen’s most famous hits: Bohemian Rhapsody, We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions, Another One Bites the Dust, and You’re My Best Friend. There is no word yet on who might be taking Baron Cohen’s place, but it will be interesting to see who takes up the challenge of portraying the rock icon and considering the standards of the band, what direction the film itself will take.