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Sacha Baron Cohen reveals the real reason he left Freddie Mercury biopic

By Ben Kelly

Sacha Baron Cohen has revealed details of his fall out with the surviving members of Queen, which resulted in him pulling out of the long planned Freddie Mercury biopic.

Baron Cohen left the untitled project in 2013, before apparently returning in 2015, and then leaving again. Rumours had circulated that he wanted a ‘warts and all’ style biopic, which the other members of Queen objected to. Now, speaking to the Howard Stern radio show in the U.S, he appears to have substantiated that story.

“There are amazing stories about Freddie Mercury. The guy was wild,” he said. “He was living an extreme lifestyle [of] debauchery. There are stories of little people with plates of cocaine on their heads walking around a party.”


He explains that Queen put their foot down because they were thinking about the band in general.

“They are a band, they want to protect their legacy as a band, they want it to be about Queen. And I fully understand that. [After] my first meeting, I should never have carried on because a member of the band – I won’t say who – he said, ‘This is such a great movie because such an amazing thing happens in the middle of the movie.’

“I go, ‘What happens in the middle of the movie?’ He goes, ‘Freddie dies.’ I go, ‘So you mean, it’s a bit like Pulp Fiction, the end is the middle, and the middle is the end? That’s interesting.’ He goes, ‘No no no.’”

Baron Cohen said the other band member in question then made it clear that they only wanted the first half of the movie to be about Freddie.


“So I said, ‘Wait a minute, what happens in the second half of the movie?’ And he said, ‘Well, we see how the band carries on from strength to strength.’ And I said, ‘Listen, not one person is going to see a movie where the lead character dies from AIDS, and then you carry on to see [what happens to the band].”

The production of the movie remains in cinematic limbo, with its director Dexter Fletcher having left the project, although in Baron Cohen’s absence, British actor Ben Whishaw was alleged to have signed on to take the lead role. In 2013, the attached screenwriter Peter Morgan said he didn’t think the film would happen without Baron Cohen.

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