Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sacha Baron Cohen Quits Freddie Mercury Movie

After years and years of putting this project together and everyone knowing that Sacha Baron Cohen is the perfect person to portray the former lead singer of Queen, it is all over now, at least for Sacha. No matter how hard he tried, he clashed repeatedly with the other members of Queen who have script and director approval. Sacha wanted a realistic version of Freddie's life and his script was going to be rated R. The band wanted something very family friendly that would gloss over anything bad or negative. No matter how much they tried to work things out, neither side would budge and Sacha has finally just walked away. This is a crusher. I'm not sure you can find someone who can play that part like Sacha could. He has been wanting to play this part forever. I think it would have been a much better movie Sacha's way and I think he was thinking Oscar.  think the members of Queen were hoping for it to be turned into a family musical on Broadway after the movie's release.

47 comments:

FSP said...

Another one bites the dust.

auntliddy said...

Good one fsp! Sacha wld have been perfect.

EmEyeKay said...

Buh-dum CHHH

phoenix said...

I see a big movie flop in Queen's future.

phoenix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frufra said...

There already is a Queen musical: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Will_Rock_You_(musical)

Nutty_Flavor said...

People who know you well aren't always the best ones to decide how your life should be dramatized. Heaven forbid what the Jacksons would do to Michael if they had the chance.

That said, the other members of Queen know that sex and drugs was a relatively small part of Freddie Mercury's time usage. The man worked pretty hard to get where he was, no doubt including many long hours in the studio.

Perhaps Cohen wanted something wild that they felt would mis-represent the person they knew. In general, I don't like Cohen's work, so I don't really blame them. So he looks like Freddie. Big deal.

Interestingly enough, the BBC did a great documentary about Boy George a couple of years ago ("Worried About the Boy") that had no involvement from Boy George whatsoever - he didn't even know about it until it was ready to air. "Star Stories", a funny ITV series, regularly does unauthorized star bios.

I think the only thing the other members of Queen can do is prevent Cohen from using Queen's music. The story can be soldered together from public records.

NomNom83 said...

@FSP: perfection

Freddie was a true rock star and I agree that a family-friendly take isn't the way to go. It's a shame, I think Baron Cohen really would have pulled it off. He seems to have that same dichotomy to his personality, publicly outrageous and entertaining, but actually an introvert.

NapAssasin said...

Sad. I was really hoping this movie would celebrate Freddie and I thought Sacha was perfect. That's a damn shame.

Frufra said...

And apparently, it's pretty terrible. The band could just rework the damn thing and go from there. Cohen would be brilliant as Freddie, but maybe his story can't be told authentically until his bandmates die. I'd have said "bite the dust", but FSP already went there :-).

DewieTheBear said...

Ugh, count me among those who can't stand Sacha Baron Cohen and glad to see him out of this project. The only film I've ever found him tolerable in is Talladega Nights.

rajahcat said...

I think Cohen's version would be the more interesting and accurate one-and an R rating would be a gift.

But it seems the band wants the fairy tale version for the money.

Would prefer to see the truth-not Disney version.

rosie riveter said...

And even then he was intolerable

saywhat? said...

I was so looking forward to seeing him in this movie. bummer. he is the perfect choice.

Axel Carlisle said...

Cohen or not, a "family-friendly" movie about Freddie Mercury just doesn't make sense to me.

Majik said...

"That said, the other members of Queen know that sex and drugs was a relatively small part of Freddie Mercury's time usage."

Beg to differ--Freddie's parties were and are still legendary with respect to the amount of drugs and debauchery that went on. Midgets wandering around with trays of coke, monkeys handing out party favours--they were like a Stefon skit.

SBC is the only person that could have played Freddie as the tortured artist he was....there was a fantastic doc about him a few years ago and it focused on his "stage" persona v. his "real" persona--quite the difference as he was painfully shy IRL but, when he knew people were paying attention, he became this amazing personality that just drew people to him.

*sigh* Miss Freddie.

Pini 27 said...

Freddie didn't announce he was HIV+ (forget full-blown AIDS) until the day before his death. Perhaps the band was following his lead on how he wanted his life chronicled?

If its true, its a shame the band wanted to water Freddie down. It would be nice to see an accurate portrayal of his life.

Sherry R. said...

Very disappointing. Hopefully when things cool off they can work it out.

__-__=__ said...

I think something put together with film clips, like that HBO Stones documentary, would be more interesting anyways. Let band members participate if they want. I would rather see Freddie play Freddie.

saucyjane said...

We Will Rock You, the Queen musical that @Frufra referenced, was the worst piece of shit garbage excuse for theatre I've ever had the misfortune to witness. They completely pimped out Queen's amazing music for a cash grab. It was so obviously meant to play on boomer sentimentality, especially the super cheesy montage of dead rockers (which they ended with a photo of Kurt Cobain of all people, who was assuredly rolling in his grave for being included in such corporate tripe). Fuck, I can't overstate how much I hated it. Weak, weak, weak. (I had to pretend not to hate it because my mother loved it, as she loves all things Queen. Sorry if I've offended anyone else with the harshness of my opinion... but ugh.)

So, yeah, if the surviving members of the band were thinking of more cheese for the movie, then it's no wonder SBC walked. Count me on the side of sad to see him go.

Barton Fink said...

Iran can rest easy now. I imagine having Cohen playing the great Persian icon would have been a little upsetting to them.

Frufra said...

@saucy - I was hoping someone here had seen it. I can only imagine how terrible it was just based on the summary I read on wikipedia. I got to thinking about a Queen musical one day because of the popularity of Momma Mia, and googled up "Queen musical".

Seachica said...

Perfect comment, FSP

Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see SBC as Freddie Mercury at all. SBC does big, almost parody characters. I'd be afraid that he would overact, turning Freddie into a cartoon character rather than the nuanced, charismatic rock star that he was. The only thing they have in common, IMHO, is their dark hair and skin coloring.

As with most celebrity portrayals, these roles need to be left to unknown actors. Otherwise, you sit staring at the screen and say "wow, that's LiLo dressed up as Liz Taylor" instead of losing yourself in the story.

Amy in MI said...

Brian may is my all time love. And although I became a queen Dfan towards the end of their band life ( and Freddie's life... I'm only 35). I love all their music and the stories. None of the band mates, except for John Deacon were innocent on the road. Brian was a confessed sex addict ( dammit born too late!) and Roger was a womanizer and also into drugs. ( Brian abhorred smoking and drugs ). The target audience knows that Freddie was not an angel, but we accept his talent and grace

MISCH said...

Maybe it's a bit more complicated , didn't they sell the songbook to Buena Vista that is a Disney Company ? Perhaps they need their approval also to use the music...

Susan said...

Daniel Day Lewis should play Freddie Mercury.

Nutty_Flavor said...

Ah, @MISCH, that could be it. Just do it without the music!

La Descarada said...

Stop. Yes. I can see this.

He would play "tortured as fuck" to a T. I would be deeply wounded by the end of that majestical movie and my heart would ache.

This must be done!

Ja'mie King said...

I think SBC would have been perfect, he's not just a comedian, but an actor that really inhabits his characters. How anyone could white-wash Queen I'll never know.

I can't even watch footage of Freddie Mercury towards the end it makes me so sad. I always wondered about the early days of Queen, try as I might I can't ever picture them on the small club circuit. Seems they were made for stadiums, and I'm not saying that in a derogatory way. Just larger than life.

And yay to everyone in the thread that spelled his name correctly, I always got annoyed with so-called Queen fans that spelled his name Freddy.

Kels said...

A small part? Seriously? He died of AIDS. None of his story is family friendly nor should it be. I have lost all respect for Queen, trying to protray Freddie as something he's not for MONEY. Pathetic. Freddie's story could have helped millions- both his sexuality AND ethnicity were hidden and if Queen wants to continue to hide that, shame.

Seems as though Freddie's true potential to influence others- not just as a singer- has been greatly misused and undervalued. Sad, really.

Kels said...

Can't we get someone who is a bit more...how do I say, ethnic?

Freddie tried to white wash himself in real life, let's not do it in the movie too. I think an unknown would be good.

califblondy said...

There are other actors out there. I'm afraid it would be all about SBC and not FM.

Cee Kay said...

As others have said, I don't see why SBC couldn't make an "unauthorized" movie or whatever. Lots of people have their lives played out in movies when either they personally or their families didn't approve of the content (isn't Marvin Gaye's family up in arms about a planned movie about his life right now?)

Mala Propism said...

Any "family friendly" biopic about Freddie isn't going to be worth seeing.
There was a good documentary about him several years back done by someone in Britain. Freddie hid his Persian heritage for a very long time. But his excess and ambisexuality are a huge part of who he was.

MsPink Kitty said...

This has Hugh Jackman writen all over it!

FS said...

Can hardly wait for his 'family friendly' sex scene with David Bowie. (He slept with Bowie, right? I've lost track of DB's rumored conquests).

Dingle Barry said...

Count me in with those that think SBC has what it takes to pull off Freddie (pun intended). He is far more intelligent than his goof ball comedy roles. On what planet was Freddie Murcury ever G-rated? He would have been insulted by that. Besides, far more money is to be had in an R rated Freddie Murcury movie. Maybe in due time. What a shame for the world now though.

car54 said...

They should try out Adam Lambert--he is a trained actor--and he has sung with Queen and I think he could have the look.

Sacha definitely has the look but he seems very bull-headed.

di butler said...

There's a full doc on YouTube that has his mom, exes, sister, old friends. Think that's what you're looking for...

Hegg said...

I can see why they would be protective of his image and legacy. They loved him and most people would do the same for a loved one they lost.

Bangagong said...

There are a number of actors who started out in more comedic fare but pulled off dramatic roles. Bill Murray is one. You can add Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy and Tom Hanks to that list. (I mean, seriously, who watched Bosom Buddies in early 80s and thought," I bet that in 15 years that guy's gonna have two Oscars!") I don't think it's fair to throw shade on SBC just because he usually does comedy. He fully commits to the roles that he plays and I bet he would have pulled off playing Freddie Mercury.

Jenn said...

I think Cohen would've done fine. The other members of Queen need to wake up. Real and good isn't always pretty PG fare. I think Freddie would love the idea of a movie though. I watched the I Want To Break Free vid the other day. I miss him still. He was great.

elspeth said...

Russell Brand as FM??? Although i'm not sure it would be good for RB to portray him.

Henriette said...

Freddy Mercury and "family friendly" do not go together. I think SBC was right on the money with his take and it's too bad the public won't get to see his version.

Henriette said...

@Barton
There are Persian Jews. I'm married to one. Besides, Freddie was Indian right?

Nutty_Flavor said...

In my original comment, I suggested that sex and drugs was a relatively small part of Freddie's time usage. Some of the other posters have suggested that this means I am ignoring his wild parties, affairs with many men, etc.

I do understand that Freddie had a hedonistic lifestyle - but still, you can only screw for so many hours a day.

Particularly in the time period this movie was to be about - up until Live Aid - Freddie spent a lot of time songwriting and in the studio. He hardly screwed his way to the top.

Things got crazy mostly in the 1980s, after Roger Taylor and John Deacon took over the main songwriting duties for Queen. "Radio Ga-ga," indeed.

@Barton and @Henriette, Freddie's family was Zoroastrian, a pre-Islamic religion based in Iran. Zoroastrians are widely persecuted under Iran's current Islamist regime, and many have fled the country. There are about 200,000 left in the world, according to Wikipedia.

Robert said...

Born Farrokh Bulsara on the island of Zanzibar!