Back when it was originally announced, Sacha Baron Cohen seemed like the perfect choice to play Freddie Mercury in the long-awaited biopic of his life.
For his part, Cohen was enthusiastic about the prospect of playing one of the most iconic figures in music. However, it simply wasn't to be and, sure enough, Cohen departed the project and basically dashed any hopes of seeing a decent Freddie Mercury biopic any time soon.
Details were sketchy around the time it was announced, however Cohen admitted that there were more than a few reasons as to why he left. "I should never have carried on because a member of the band - I won’t say who - said, 'This is such a great movie, because such an amazing thing happens in the middle of the movie.' I go, ‘What happens in the middle of the movie?’ He goes, ‘Freddie dies.’"
"I go, ‘So you mean it’s a bit like Pulp Fiction, where the end is the middle and the middle is the end? That’s interesting.’ He goes, ‘No no no.’ So I said, ‘Wait a minute. What happens in the second half of the movie?’ And he said, ‘Well, we see how the band carries on from strength to strength.’ And I said, ‘Listen, not one person is going to see a movie where the lead character dies from AIDS and then you carry on to see (what happens to the band)."
That's right, Roger Taylor and Brian May wanted the film not to be a Freddie Mercury biopic but one half Mercury dying from AIDS, one half Queen continues on and gets a guy from American Idol! to take over from Mercury.
What's even more agonising about the whole thing is that Sacha Baron Cohen had some huge names lined up to help make the film, including David Fincher, Stephen Frears and Peter Morgan to write the screenplay - all of which was rejected by Brian May and Alan Taylor.
As Cohen succinctly puts it, "if you’re in control of your rights of your life story, why wouldn’t you depict yourself as great as possible?"
You can listen to the full interview here.