Several years ago came news that “Borat” and “Bruno” star Sacha Baron Cohen was linked to a biopic based on the life of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. The film, which was being produced by remaining band members Brian May and Roger Taylor, was also courting helmers like Stephen Frears and Tom Hooper to direct.
However it never seemed to make much progress, mostly because there were large creative differences over the portrayal of Mercury – May and Taylor said to be very protective of their former frontman. Cohen, out doing “The Brothers Grimsby” promotion, went on the Howard Stern Show (via The Playlist) recently and explained why he opted out of the project:
“[After] my first meeting, I should never have carried on because a member of the band – I won’t say who – said, ‘This is such a great movie, because such an amazing thing happens in the middle of the movie.’ I go, ‘What happens in the middle of the movie?’ He goes, ‘Freddie dies.’
I go, ‘So you mean it’s a bit like ‘Pulp Fiction,’ where the end is the middle and the middle is the end? That’s interesting.’ He goes, ‘No no no.’ So I said, ‘Wait a minute. What happens in the second half of the movie?’ And he said, ‘Well, we see how the band carries on from strength to strength.’ And I said, ‘Listen, not one person is going to see a movie where the lead character dies from AIDS and then you carry on to see [what happens to the band].
They asked me to write the movie, but I said, ‘I don’t know how to write a biopic.’ So I got in Peter Morgan (“The Queen”), [but] they didn’t like that. I brought in David Fincher who wanted to direct it, then Tom Hooper – they were very specific about how they wanted to do it. But at the end of the day, it really was an artistic difference… Brian May is an amazing musician, but he’s not a great movie producer.”
While it’s unlikely we’ll get that film, there’s numerous documentaries about the band and its history such as 2011’s much acclaimed “Queen: Days Of Our Lives”.