Sacha Baron Cohen has NOT been confirmed to play Freddie Mercury in a biopic about the flamboyant Queen frontman.
Queen guitarist Brian May posted on his website that the band’s manager, Jim Beach, was just making “a small joke” last Thursday at the Artist and Manager Awards when he said Cohen had officially signed on to the long-delayed project.
Entertainment Weekly.com reported the story on Saturday, quoting Beach as saying, “You have probably followed the saga of the famous Queen-Freddie Mercury biopic which has been developing in Hollywood for the last seven years. An important breakthrough is that we have now managed to persuade Sacha Baron Cohen to write, produce, and direct this movie, and he has also agreed to star.”
May said Beach was just joking. “I’m afraid some folks might have taken it seriously,” wrote May.
The biopic about Mercury, who died in 1991 at the age of 45 due to complications from AIDS, has been in the works since about 2010. However, sources told EW the project has been stalled due to Cohen “not seeing eye to eye with the remaining members of Queen who have script and director approval.”
According to EW, Cohen desired a “gritty R-rated tell-all,” while the band apparently preferred a PG-version of Mercury’s life.