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Queen’s Brian May on Freddie Mercury biopic: ‘Sacha became an arse’

By Ben Kelly

Brian May has lashed out at Sacha Baron Cohen, in his first comments over the Freddie Mercury biopic fall out.

Baron Cohen was attached to the long awaited project for years, but exited it in 2015 after irreconcilable differences with the remaining Queen members. Speaking in March, he said they wanted to censor Freddie’s lifestyle, and make half of the film about the success of the band in the years since his death.

Now, May has rejected these claims, saying Sacha became “an arse”.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday he said: “We had some nice times with Sacha kicking around ideas but he went off and told untruths about what happened. Why would he go away and say that we didn’t want to make a gritty film? Are we the kind of people who have ever ducked from the truth? I don’t think so.”

Instead, May pointed to Baron Cohen’s lack of suitability for the role.


“We decided he wasn’t right for the role for very good reasons, which will become apparent if you watch what he’s done recently,” – an apparent reference to his latest poorly received comedy film Grimsby.

“It’s obvious that it wasn’t going to work, him playing Freddie,” he explained. “It wouldn’t suspend your disbelief. We’re hoping Ben Whishaw will do it. He’s fabulous – a real actor.”

ben whishaw

London Spy star Whishaw has been attached to the project since 2014 as a replacement for Baron Cohen.

Playwright Peter Morgan had been signed on to write the script, but once commented that he didn’t think it would happen without Baron Cohen. It is assumed, however, that he is still involved. The only other comment May made on the subject was to say, “We have arrived at a great storyline. But the film’s not going out till it’s right.”

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