The loss of Queen front man Freddy Mercury counts as among the greatest losses in the music world – not a small matter when you consider that list includes names like Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain. But Mercury was one of the best – a class act singer, performer and all-round showman. His death to AIDS changed attitudes to the disease and his openly gay lifestyle shifted views around gender choices.
Never mind that he lead the band which has created some of the most memorable songs of the past few decades. Almost everyone has at least one Queen song that they liked.
Plans for a Freddy Mercury biopic have been in the works for several years, led by the unlikeliest of candidates – Sacha Baron Cohen. The man better known for his extreme slapstick performances has been pushing for such a film: writing, producing, directing and starring are all on his to-do list. Cohen certainly looks the part and so far not many people want to cast dispersion on his ability to pull off the drama required, perhaps because of a long legacy of comedy actors who have turned to show some serious drama talents as well.
Alas, the project came to a halt because of the remaining band members. Apparently Cohen’s vision is a more unflinching R-rated one while Queen prefers a more family-friendly movie. This eventually led to Cohen leaving the project. He was replaced by Dexter Fletcher, who also left after differences with the band.
But Cohen is back, reports Collider, quoting Queen’s manager Jim Beach:
An important breakthrough is that we have now managed to persuade Sacha Baron Cohen to write, produce and direct this movie, and he has also agreed to star.
Has a compromise been reached? I’m hoping Cohen’s vision stands – lately there have been quite a few saccharine versions of famous lives: some, like the latest movie about Princess Diana, were poorly received, while others – The Imitation Game – got high praise even though it really stretched the truth and some controversial aspects. A proper exploration of Mercury’s life would be very revealing: about the man, the music age he lived in and the incredible debauchery of the time.
Last Updated: March 31, 2015