Sacha Baron Cohen will reportedly star as iconic rock star Freddie Mercury in an upcoming big screen biopic about the late great front man of the popular British band Queen.
Cohen was previously slated to play Mercury but exited the project in 2013 as a result of creative differences. A number of other actors were considered for the role, but Cohen seems extremely well suited for it. Like Mercury, he is known as a colorful, offbeat entertainer who likes to stretch the boundaries with irreverent and over-the-top showmanship.
Born in Zanzibar, Tanzania, in 1946, Mercury, who moved to London in his teens, was a talented singer/songwriter, responsible for hits such as “Bohemian Rhapsody“ and “We Are the Champions.” He died due to complications from AIDS in 1991 at the age of 45.
Based on an announcement made by Queen’s manager Jim Beach during an acceptance speech at the Artist & Management Awards in London, Cohen will not only star but also write, direct and produce the movie. If the film is finally made, it will mark Cohen’s feature film directorial debut.
According to Time, Cohen left the project earlier because he was “not seeing eye to eye with the remaining members of Queen who have script and director approval.” It seems that Cohen wanted to do a “gritty R-rated tell-all” movie, while the band was envisioning a cleaner PG-depiction of Mercury’s life.
It should be noted that following Beach’s announcement, Queen guitarist Brian May denied that Cohen had rejoined the project.
Cohen will next be seen in the spy comedy Grimsby, in theaters Feb. 26, 2016, which he also wrote and produced. He will also play the role of Time in the movie Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass, debuting May 27, 2016.