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Sacha Baron Cohen Bails On Freddie Mercury Biopic After Clashing With Queen Over R-Rating

Sacha Baron Cohen Bails On Freddie Mercury Biopic After Clashing With Queen Over R-Rating

What sounds more rock ‘n’ roll when it comes to a movie about the magnetic Queen frontman Freddie Mercury: an R-rated drama that portrays the singer from all sides or a PG-rated love in? That seems to be at the crux of Sacha Baron Cohen‘s decision to exit the long developing biopic.

Deadline reports that the actor has bailed on the movie, unable to come to an agreement with the surviving members of Queen over the tone of the movie—Cohen wanted something more adult and gritty, the band didn’t—and they have the final say on the script and director. The last we heard about the movie back in May, Cohen’s “Les Miserables” helmer was being sought, and before him, Stephen Frears was apparently close to helming the project while David Fincher‘s name was floated too. And presumably “The Queen” screenwriter Peter Morgan is still involved, but this kind of delay suggests there’s even more work to be done. 

While a couple of start dates had been tossed around at various times—spring was 2013 optimistically touted and passed—it looks like this one might be a while off. A new lead will have to found, and someone who is down with something of a bit more crowd-friendly version of the story. 

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One supposes the remaining members of Queen fear turning off today's modern fan who may or may not be quiet ready for the real man behind the music. Which just might be another way of saying why rock the royalty flow…?


Hang on.. Surely Morgan's script gave an idea of tone? How can they have two such opposing notions of what the movie will be, when there's been a script for years?


That's too bad. I was really looking forward to this one. So much potential.


This could have been a serious awards contender if done properly.


Queen – the kid's version – coming to theatres.


This can go to HBO like Liberace's story. That was pretty gritty while having moments of being a dark comedy.


I think the surviving members of Queen want to honor Mercury's memory, but they cannot erase some of his history. To me, trying to pretend that it was all one big hippie trip is a disservice and a falsehood. I think a balance can be made between the two. Plus, why is Russell Brand not even being considered for this role?

The Ritty

well screw this movie now…that's just sad.


Damn shame. He would have done a great job and Freddie story should be told warts and all. It wouldn't detract from his talent or legacy but I guess the remaining Queen members are worried about it affecting their $$$$. Pity.

Sam Niche

That's too bad, despite Cohen's less than savory work I was really excited to see him shine in a movie that sounded amazing. Dropping the R-rating is really too bad.


Soon in the movie Freddie won't be gay and dead of AIDS anymore: not enough PG


Hmmm, needing to be PG so that "We Are the Champions" still plays at all the PG type sporting events?

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