Borat, Bruno and The Brothers Grimsby actor Sacha Baron Cohen, in an interview with Howard Stern has admitted to dropping out from the planned Freddie Mercury biopic due to a creative dispute with Queen.
The actor tells Stern that Mercury lived a “wild” and “extreme lifestyle” which he wanted to explore on screen, however, the band members of Queen wished the film to focus more on their legacy than their iconic frontman’s exploits.
Baron Cohen stated, “A member of the band – I won’t say who – said: ‘You know, this is such a great movie because it’s got such an amazing thing that happens in the middle. And I go: ‘What happens in the middle of the movie?’ He goes: ‘You know, Freddie dies.’
I go: ‘What happens in the second half of the movie?’ He goes: ‘We see how the band carries on from strength to strength.’ “I said: ‘Listen, not one person is going to see a movie where the lead character dies from Aids and then you see how the band carries on.’
The comedic actor left the project in 2013, with reports emerging that the biopic was being rewritten with producers hoping Ben Whishaw will play the role of Mercury.