In 2010, Sacha Baron Cohen was cast as Freddie Mercury in a biopic of the late Queen front man. He dropped out of the project three years later, citing creative differences with the surviving members of the band. Now, in an interview with Howard Stern, the comedian has shed more light on exactly why the long-gestating film never happened. (It’s currently languishing without a director or star attached, though Ben Whishaw’s name has been bandied about.) “At the end of the day it really was an artistic difference,” he explained. The band wanted a PG-rated film that climaxed with its surviving members finding the strength to carry on after Mercury’s death, while Baron Cohen wanted … not that. “A member of the band, I won’t say who, he said, ‘This is such a great movie because it’s got such an amazing thing that happens in the middle of the movie,’” he revealed. “I go, ‘What happens in the middle of the movie?’ He goes, ‘Freddie dies.’” For his part, Brian May has said that the band ultimately felt Baron Cohen “would have been distracting.” In the end, I guess, they did have to stop him now.
This is probably the last time you’ll see a photo split of these two guys together. Photo: Getty Images