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Brian May Discusses Sacha Baron Cohen’s Departure From Freddie Mercury Film
The surviving members of Queen have been keeping mum about their faltering Freddie Mercury biopic, which recently ran into some serious trouble when Sacha Baron Cohen left the project, but guitarist Brian May finally jumped into the rumor mill to clarify the situation. As May explains, Queen and Cohen parted ways due to creative differences that were ultimately irreconcilable.
“It’s quite difficult to talk about,” May admitted in a recent interview, “because we owe Sacha a lot. He had so much enthusiasm for the project and it really helped us kick it into the start position. But in the end we felt that his presence in the movie would be very distracting.”
According to May, Cohen’s outsized personality threatened to overshadow Mercury. The movie, May feared, would end up being more about Cohen than Queen’s legendary frontman.
“What led us to that conclusion was the last three movies that he’s made--The Dictator, Les Miserables and Hugo--in which he makes outstanding performances, but they’re very much Sacha Baron Cohen performances,” May said. “And we thought there has to be no distraction in the Freddie movie. You have to really suspend that disbelief – the man who plays Freddie, you have to really believe is Freddie. And we didn’t that could really happen with Sacha.”
So now that Sacha is quite literally out of the picture, where does the project stand? May says they are very much moving forward, and are close to confirming Cohen’s replacement.
“I can’t really say who [the replacement] is, but I think we’re close,” May promised. “We’re in good shape.”
UPDATE: During an appearance on BBC1's The One Show, Taylor told hosts Chris Evans and Alex Jones that the actor they have in mind for the role has the initials "BW". When Jones asked if that stood for Skyfall actor, Ben Whishaw, Taylor replied: "Well, we hope so."