When it was announced that actor Sacha Baron Cohen would no longer be portraying Freddie Mercury in the forthcoming biopic about the singer’s life, many were disappointed, as Cohen is well-known for his character acting and bears a striking resemblance to Mercury.
However, in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Queen guitarist Brian May revealed that it partially because of those exact reasons that the band and Cohen parted ways.
“We just came to the conclusions that it wasn't going to work with Sacha in the leading role,” May explained to Rolling Stone. “He's brilliant. But we felt that having Sacha in there would be so distracting because he's such a powerful persona and the characters he makes tend to stand out in a way that wouldn't be suitable for the film.”
“Freddie has to be, in this movie, completely believable,” May continued. “You have to not question for an instant that you're watching Freddie, and that couldn't have happened with Sacha.”
And while there had been some controversy about Cohen’s departure from the film, May goes on to state that they all parted on good terms.
“There was a story put out by Sacha's publicist -- I think that's where it came from -- that Sacha had walked out in disgust because we didn't want to make a film with the kind of script we approved. But none of that was true. We parted amicably. We're still in touch and we're still good friends,” May told Rolling Stone.
The Freddie Mercury biopic, which remains untitled, will now feature actor Ben Whishaw, though no projected release date has been announced.
During the interview, Brian May also discussed an upcoming “new” album from Queen that could feature previously unused vocal parts from Mercury, including a handful of never-before-heard duets with the late Michael Jackson.
“[There’s] [a]t least one dancey, at least one ballady one,” the guitarist stated of the Mercury/Jackson tracks, which were recorded in the '80s. “There's sort of three main contenders at the moment, possibly four.”
For more on Brian May’s interview with Rolling Stone, click here, and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below!