Sacha Baron Cohen was pulled of the cast of the biopic of rocker Freddie Mercury because the late singer’s bandmates thought he was too funny.
The British comic star had been lined up to play the iconic Queen frontman in a biopic, but later pulled out due to “creative differences”. Queen drummer Roger Taylor has now revealed he and guitarist Brian May decided Sacha might turn the project into a comedy.
“We felt Sacha probably wasn’t right. We didn’t want it to be a joke,” he told British newspaper The Sun. “We want people to be moved.’
Sacha is best known as the man behind spoof comedy characters such as Borat, Bruno and Ali G.
However, he has tested himself with more serious roles in movies such as Hugo.
Now that Sacha is no longer attached to the Freddie biopic, Roger admits that it may have to be put on ice.
‘I thought the music business was slow, but this has been like swimming in treacle… we need to step back now,” he said.
Screenwriter Dan Mazer, who co-created Borat and Bruno with Sacha, insists the star is happy with the decision.
‘It probably wasn’t a right fit. Sacha is very sure about how he wants to do things,” Dan explained. “If he felt he couldn’t do it the right way then he didn’t want to do it.’
When it was revealed Sacha was no longer involved with the film, reports arose that he couldn’t reach an agreement with the remaining members of Queen over the film’s tonality. It was claimed Sacha “was counting on a gritty R-rated tell-all centred around the gifted gay singer”, but Queen wanted the movie to be more family friendly.
Over the weekend, speculation circulated that Daniel Radcliffe was being lined up to play Freddie.
“He’s closer in height to Freddie than Sacha, who’s much taller. Daniel can really sing, too,” a source said.