Sacha Baron Cohen To Play Freddie Mercury

Published 4 years ago by , Updated July 12th, 2013 at 10:39 am,

Jamie Foxx won an Oscar for his portrayal of Ray Charles back in 2004 and now another funnyman will bring a musical legend to life on the big screen – Sacha Baron Cohen has closed a deal to portray Freddie Mercury in an upcoming film about the musical group Queen.

The as-yet Untitled Queen Movie is being penned by Peter Morgan, who was responsible for scripting the Oscar-nominated pics The Queen (no connection) and Frost/Nixon, as well as next month’s Clint Eastwood-directed movie Hereafter.  GK Films (The Town) will partner up Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal’s Tribeca Productions and Queen Films (no pun intended) to finance the project.

The film will chronicle the formation of the Mercury-led band Queen and culminates with the group’s appearance at Live Aid back in 1985 – which is generally regarded as one of the greatest live rock performances ever.  It will not focus on Mercury’s tragic AIDS-related death in 1991.

Cohen demonstrated that he can actually sing in Tim Burton’s film version of the macabre musical Sweeney Todd back in 2007, although it is possible that his performance will be dubbed over with Mercury’s vocals.  Ray Charles’ voice was considered too unique for Foxx to be able to properly imitate in Ray and the filmmakers behind the Queen movie might feel the same about Mercury – who Cohen does bear a physical resemblance to (see below).

While Cohen is best known for his comical performance art acts like Borat or Bruno, he is generally recognized as a solid acting talent.  The role of Freddy Mercury could be a change of pace for the comedian and will allow him the opportunity to show off his dramatic performance chops.

Most films that revolve around a real-life music group tend to follow a strict narrative formula: the band is formed, its members find success and fame, let it get to their heads, and have a fall-out of sorts; the group thereafter either reunites in some form or its members move on to a better life.  We shall have to wait and see if Morgan structures his screenplay for the Queen movie in the same vein, or goes for a less formulaic approach.

The Untitled Queen Movie is expected to begin production in 2011.

Source: Deadline

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  1. OMG after “bruno” i will not see any of his movies,i stopped watching that movie after the first 5 minutes ugh.

  2. I woulda gone with Cillian Murphy myself but , I’ll give Cohen a chance.

    • Murphy looks nothing like Mercury, Cohen, strangely enough, seems like a perfect fit.

      • Cohen doesn’t look a thing like Mercury to me , but it’s not like you need a look alike for the part ,so he may just pull it off.

  3. I’m…not excited. Queen is my favorite band, and Freddie is my favorite singer. I’d prefer no movie at all.

    • please tell me that youre not listening to the paul rodgers version lol

      • I agree! No one can do Freddie, Brian, John and Roger justice. Movies these days have no nuance and all the subtleties of their characters will be ignored. You’d be amazed at how much you can learn about this fabulous band by reading, watching performances and listening to interviews. Who needs a movie? Not me and probably the majority of Queen fans. I won’t be able to watch it. When I picture darling Freddie in my mind, I want to see the real one, not Sasha Baron Cohen whom I admire also. I’m afraid i will not be able to separate him from Borat and Bruno.

  4. Wow. The guys above me have no faith at all in Sasha. I, on the other hand, am very excited about this.

    @The Rickster!
    I hated Bruno also, but that was his own creation. With this, he is portraying someone else. Bruno and this movie are two total different movies and Sasha is very talented in transforming himself.

    @Sly
    I totally agree with a1d2h. Cillian Murphy looks nothing like Freddie. Granted Murphy is an excellent actor, but I think Sasha is just a better fit.

  5. Sin
    Well i just hate how he acts in borat and bruno. He has potential but i dont like how he acts.

    • Yeah, I can understand that. Well, I wasn’t a fan of Bruno at all. But, Borat I thought was pure brilliance. Don’t forget that when he is doing those movies he is totally in character. This is a character which he created and he most likely thinks that there are characters like that in this world.

      But, I totally understand where you are coming from.

  6. Sin
    Ok cool :)

  7. Nervously excited to see Mercury portrayed on screen. I’d agree that by some weird voodoo Cohen seems somehow awesome for the part. High hopes for this. Love Queen.

  8. Wow… this is huge news… Freddie deserves someone who is larger than life as Cohen usually is in all situations. Look at it this way… Cohen can take nothing away from Mercury and only show his weakness if he cannot fully live up to the grace and ‘majesty’ that Mercury punches out as the front man for one of the most controversial bands of its time.

    People deserve to know more about the complexities of Mercury and especially how his childhood made him into the rebellious exotic bird who stood for all things freedom and excess as a form of ‘outing’ the truth as we needed to know it. Love this idea and love Cohen for being bold in all ways. Yes we can certainly tar and feather him later if he repeats whatever that scene was with the ‘psychic’ that we saw in Bruno.

    Compared with what Phoenix Joaquin offered us I would sit in the theatre and watch this release 4 times in a row just to appreciate the legacy… Who’s really afraid of the Big Bad Bruno???? Come on guys… live a little… Ps… I am a female just to get all that ironed out in advance.

    • lol Radical thanks for clarifying. i just hope he does the memory of Mercury justice, the guy had some SERIOUS pipes. and is one of my favorite vocalists of all time

    • Controversial bands of all time? Idk about that. Brian may had sweet guitar tone though.

    • I have complete faith in Sacha. He’ll do the role justice, that’s for sure,

  9. This is pure brilliance. I love Queen. Honestly in my top 5 favorite bands ever. I wish I had been given the honor of seeing Freddie live but sadly he died the year I was born. He is a huge inspiration to many musicians now and will continue to be for years to come. I’m glad this will be about the band and not about his personal life and death. He kept that part of him private for a reason. Sacha Baron Cohen seems very right for this role cause he can be big and bold in his performances so I can totally see this happening.

    • I was born on his 45th (final) birthday, how’s that for coincidence? Seriously though, I also hope the film will be a proper balance of his professional and personal life, not too much of either. I want for his privacy to remain protected as well, but most people already know personal stuff about him now. Hopefully, this film will break down the common misperceptions about him and show him in a more understanding light. And most importantly, introduce the younger generation to the brilliance of his music. If done right, this movie can only be an epic win for everyone.

  10. Oh God!

    This truly is a sign of the end times

  11. I will love to see a QUEEN biography film about “The Life Story of Fred Mercury”, I cast Jim Caviezel to play “Fred Mercury”

  12. There is no way that Cohen can match Mercury’s vocal talent..it will have to be overdubbed/lip-synced..Mercury has one of the greatest voices in rock along with Robert Plant..I have seen Sweeney Todd and Cohen does an admirable job but if you compare that performance to Mercury’s then Sasha Cohen’s vocal stylings have more in common with Leonard Cohen than Freddie Mercury..He really looks like he could really nail Mercury’s look though..

  13. Really?? I mean sure he looks like Freddie but a comedic actor? There is no way they can get Sasha to sing like him…. You might as well get Owen Wilson for Robert Plant….

  14. I figured this guy was a hack comic until I watched a 99c used dvd of “Bruno”. I was very impressed with his take on societies perceptions and stereotypes.

    Then came, “Borat”.
    Very creative take on a generic kinda muslim dude.

    After that I regressed (used dvd) and checked out his Ally Gi show,,,

    The guys very talented and ib think he’s great!

    He’s a perfect macth for Freddie Murcury,,, this sounds great!

  15. This has to be now the biggest mis-cast of all time!!!!! What a dreadful and insane idea. My God….really Mr. Mercury how will you ever be able to rest in Peace?

  16. Oh come now… can you not see Cohen belting out:

    Bicycle races are coming your way
    So forget all your duties oh yeah!
    Fat bottomed girls they’ll be riding today
    So look out for those beauties oh yeah
    On your marks get set go !

    This song itself as both early video/think multi-media artform and lyrical exposition of politics was well ahead of its time… and certainly paralleled what Rotten-headed Lydon was screaming about relative to social injustice and seeking the truth:

    You say black I say white
    You say bark I say bite
    You say shark I say hey man
    Jaws was never my scene
    And I don’t like Star Wars
    You say Rolls I say Royce
    You say God give me a choice
    You say Lord I say Christ
    I don’t believe in Peter Pan
    Frankenstein or Superman
    All I wanna do is
    Bicycle… Bicycle …. Bicycle Race!

    Surely it is going to be the pleasure of fans everywhere to see how Cohen links Mercury’s third world background with the politics of cycling as an alternative choice when he gets that certain sexual tone to his voice as a part of singing:

    “Fat bottomed girls, they’ll be riding today,
    so look out for those beauties, oh yeah”

    or

    “Fat bottomed girls you make the rockin’ world go round…
    Get on your bikes and ride!”

    Surely you know that not just any actor is going to pull that scene off well… Cohen is not only the perfect choice. He may well be the only choice when it comes down to playing off stage parts which include taking his paramoor to an antique shop and confusing the hell out of everyone in the place as to if he is straight, gay, bi- or just plain try- it all.

    Mercury was truly a blend of cultures and if you have ever seen some of his filmed interviews where the reporters had no clue that he also spoke their language then you would understand that it will take a multi-cultural genius to pull off the personalized references and intonations which Mercury often used to set his global status on point as more than a pretty face.

    He was both tormented and ahead of his time and he may well have been more complex than many people might ever imagine.

    • I saw Queen the first time in America opening for Mott the Hopple in 1973. I instantly was a Queen fan for the rest of life. This Cohen I have much distain for, therefore IMHO, I think it is a bad idea….and so do many that have heard this dreadful news. This should be better off left alone and let Freddie’s legend linger in our memories fondly. Much like the idea of doing something for Hendrix has been always talked about but never come to reality.

  17. I am really sorry to hear that you do not see the difference between Sasha Cohen as an actor and his characters Ali G.,Borat, and Bruno. The individual, Sasha Cohen, put years into perfecting his method and even more time securing the connections to make a success of exploring culture and intentionally crossing boundaries to make larger social analogies relative to the small mindedness of racism, bigotry and politics. His entire art form is clearly relative to the frontiers which Mercury was known for pioneering in his time. It’s a shame that you have yet to appreciate Freddy for the entirety of his character and achievements.

  18. I’m on the fence on whether or not Sacha Baron Cohen can portray Freddie Mercury. I adore Freddie and Queen is one of the greatest bands of all time. In my mind he was the best vocalist and frontman of this century. Sacha may not have the vocal capability, but I’m more concerned about him portraying Freddie’s true personality, as he had a very complex personality. Freddie said many times that he had a very soft side and also a “hard” side. He was a sensitive, creative and could bevery vocal about how he felt about things in general. Freddie would often play with the interviewers and let them hear what they wanted to hear! He disliked the press and the critics and rated the band on the “fans” response only. Freddie was private about his personal life, and his heritage, as he felt this may affect the success of the band. I really believe that Freddie’s tragic life was scripted by him being shipped off to boarding school at the age of 7 until 16, and we may never know what happened to him during those years, as he never revealed this period of his life to the press. I do believe he was tormented in his personal life, betrayed by lovers and used for his fame and fortune. He felt lonely and pined for that simple, true love that was so elusive for him. Freddie was a good, old soul, a bit naive, but a deeply loving and caring man. I hope Sacha can bring justice to Freddie’s character, for his loving fans, dear family and surviving band members.

  19. I have a suggestion; get Gary Mullen to play Freddy in the movie. Gary Mullen not only looks like Freddy but he can sing just like Freddy. Google the following: Gary Mullen & The Works or One Night of Queen. You can see videos of his abilities on You Tube as well as on their official web site. I have seen him in person and Gary is THE BEST choice for the job. He could replace Paul Rogers for sure.

  20. Please dont destroy the image of Freddie Mercury by this disaster waiting to happen!
    Sacha Baron Cohen is neither Sherlock Holmes or Freddie Mercury, stop think and protest this absurdity!
    What can Graham King be thinking ?
    Sacha Baron cohen cannot act, does not actually look like Freddie Mercury and looks self conscious and terrible in movies,
    except when making fun or characters who’s belief systems he hates with a passion enough to mock them, by acting them out in a crazy and if you can call itso, a convincing way
    This is Freddie Mercury, and SBC will never ever do justice or look half as good as the Great, as this actor who deserves this role ,
    for at least he can actually act,
    knows about singing and is the right height and can act every stage of Mercury’s life.

    Jeremy Kapone as Freddie Mercury early 1970′s formative years http://freddiemercurybiopic.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/excact1-copy2.jpg

    Jeremy Kapone as Freddie Mercury early 1980′s the munich doubt years
    http://freddiemercurybiopic.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/jeremyasfreddrerrrrrr-copygggrguisssss1.jpg

  21. Freddie Mercury vocals – Jeremy Kapone (dub voice)
    http://freddiemercurybiopic.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/excact1-copy2.jpg
    Roger Taylor queen drummer – Jake abel
    https://freddiemercurybiopic.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/jake-abel-jake-abel-19216862-400-334.jpg
    Brian May Queen guitarist – Dominic Harris- 6 foot 4
    https://freddiemercurybiopic.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/untitled-1dominicharris1.jpg
    (Dominic Harris the only comedian needed in this movie thankyou very much )
    John Deacon Queen bassist – Joseph Gordon Levitt
    see JOSPEH as john on this group photo
    https://freddiemercurybiopic.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/gardenof-tears2darker.jpg

  22. Also check out my you tube channel
    http://www.youtube.com/user/DILLONSONG
    as I also have virtually all the cast
    early manager john reid
    later to present manager jim beach
    ratty the one who sat under Freddies piano and passed him his micophone
    MAC queens 80′s producer
    and lots more also

  23. Freddie Mercury vocals – Jeremy Kapone (dub voice)
    http://freddiemercurybiopic.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/excact1-copy2.jpg

  24. Please dont destroy the image of Freddie Mercury by this disaster waiting to happen!
    Sacha Baron Cohen is neither Sherlock Holmes or Freddie Mercury, stop think and protest this absurdity!
    What can Graham King be thinking ?
    Sacha Baron cohen cannot act, does not actually look like Freddie Mercury and looks self conscious and terrible in movies,
    except when making fun or characters who’s belief systems he hates with a passion enough to mock them, by acting them out in a crazy and if you can call itso, a convincing way
    This is Freddie Mercury, and SBC will never ever do justice or look half as good as the Great, as this actor who deserves this role ,
    for at least he can actually act,
    knows about singing and is the right height and can act every stage of Mercury’s life.

  25. Jeremy Kapone as Freddie Mercury early 1980′s the munich doubt years
    http://freddiemercurybiopic.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/jeremyasfreddrerrrrrr-copygggrguisssss1.jpg

  26. Jake abel as Roger Taylor queen drummer – Jake abel
    https://freddiemercurybiopic.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/jake-abel-jake-abel-19216862-400-334.jpg

  27. Dominic Harris Brian May Queen guitarist – Dominic Harris- 6 foot 4
    https://freddiemercurybiopic.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/untitled-1dominicharris1.jpg
    (Dominic Harris the only comedian needed in this movie thankyou very much )

  28. Joseph Gordon Levitt John Deacon Queen bassist – Joseph Gordon Levitt
    see JOSPEH as john on this group photo
    https://freddiemercurybiopic.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/gardenof-tears2darker.jpg

  29. they should use his childhood like the Ray Charles, showing him as a child in India and stuff and have a few flashbacks.

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