Sacha Baron Cohen and Freddie Mercury. (Reuters and AP)
It has been announced that comedic actor, Sacha Baron Cohen will star as Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic. The film has been in the works for quite some time, according to Collider.com. There have been several biographies written about Mercury and his time in Queen, but this will be one of the first film biopics specifically about Mercury.
Stephen Frears (The Queen, High Fidelity) is the frontrunner to direct the project, according to Variety.com, although negotiations have not yet begun.
Collider also reported that Cohen may actually be singing Queen songs in the film. He did his own singing for his part in Tim Burton’s 2007 musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
The plot of the biopic will follow Queen’s formation up through their appearance at Live Aid in 1985. Mercury’s battle with AIDS and death in 1991 will not be featured in the film.
Frears is currently busy directing the HBO drama Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, but he has confirmed he will have a relatively open schedule for the near future. Peter Morgan (The Queen) wrote the most recent version of the script.
Producers for the film have already purchased the rights for parts of Queens catalog, including “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions.”
Cohen, best known as a comedic actor for films such as Borat, Bruno, and his newest film, The Dictator, bears a definite resemblance to the classic rock frontman. The question, however, is whether Cohen can master Mercury’s wide vocal range.
In case you are worried about Cohen’s singing prowess, check out these videos of previous singing engagements:
And now some Freddie Mercury for comparison: