With his latest film Grimsby due out in cinemas nationwide this week, today Sacha Baron Cohen spoke at length at another film project he’d recently just left, the Freddie Mercury biopic.
On air with US radio legend Howard Stern, Cohen initially spoke about his initial plans for the film, and the direction he’d wanted to take it in. “I mean there are amazing stories about Freddie Mercury,” He said. “The guy was wild, I mean he was living an extreme lifestyle.. There are stories of little people with plates with cocaine on their heads walking around parties. But [it’s] also just an amazing story..”
However it was in his first meeting with Queen six years ago that Sacha remarked he should have realised it was all not going to work:
“My first meeting, I should’ve never carried on because a member of the band, I won’t say who, said this is such a great movie, because it has such an amazing thing that happens right in the middle of the movie. I go, “What happens in the middle of the movie?” – he goes “Uh you know, Freddie dies.” I go, “Oh right so you mean it’s a bit like Pulp Fiction, the end is the middle and the middle is the end.. that’s a wild movie!” He says “No no no, normal movie.” I say “Okay, so what happens in the second half of the movie?” – and he says “Well we see how the band carries on from strength to strength.”
Though Cohen had a very different vision for the film, he said that he “understand[s] it. 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. [but] Not one person is going to see a movie where the lead character dies from AIDS and then you carry on to see the band carrying on.”
Freddie’s story is one that absolutely needs to be told on the screen. Though Cohen was a near-perfect physical match, it’s important that it be done in a way that pleases the men that made up 75% of the band and a huge portion of the story. Fingers crossed we get it soon.
Peep our Flashback Friday to Queen’s classic A Night At the Opera.