Queen guitarist hits out at Sacha Baron Cohen over Freddie Mercury biopic feud
Queen guitarist Brian May has returned fire – after Sacha Baron Cohen appeared to criticise him in a row over the stalled Freddie Mercury biopic.
The Borat star was originally signed on to play the legendary Queen singer, who died of AIDS-related illness in 1991, in a biopic made in collaboration with the band – but quit the project in 2013 over “creative differences” with the band.
Last month, Cohen finally explained his reasons for quitting – claiming that the surviving band members had pushed to “clean up” the gritty biopic and make it into a PG-rated film focussed on the band.
Queen guitarist Brian May, who the film-maker hinted was the centre of the feud, responded to the claims this week.
He told the Daily Mail: “Sacha became such an arse. We had some nice times with Sacha kicking around ideas but he went off and told untruths about what happened.
“Why would he go away and say that we didn’t want to make a gritty film? Are we the kind of people who have ever ducked from the truth? I don’t think so.”
He also referenced controversy over Cohen’s new film The Brothers Grimm, which featured a controversial scene in which Donald Trump “gets AIDS”.
The guitarist said: “We decided he wasn’t right for the role for very good reasons, which will become apparent if you watch what he’s done recently.
“It’s obvious that it wasn’t going to work, him playing Freddie. It wouldn’t suspend your disbelief.”
Of hopes to revive the project, he pegged London Spy star Ben Whishaw for the lead role – a long-rumoured casting.
He said: “We’re hoping Ben Whishaw will do it. He’s fabulous… a real actor.”