If you could pick anyone to play Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury in a movie about the band, your brain probably wouldn’t jump to Borat and Bruno star Sacha Baron Cohen at first…but it should.
It’s been announced that Baron Cohen will indeed be playing the flamboyant front man with legendary vocal talents in a new movie being backed by GK Films, Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Productions, and Queen Films. A script for the movie, which will be about the entire band and not just Mercury, is being written by Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon). The currently untitled movie will focus on the band toward their peak and building up to their 1985 performance at Live Aid.
Baron Cohen is best known for his comedic abilities, but it’s quite clear that the man has a great ability to become someone else and really sell it. In addition to his Da Ali G Show creations, the British actor has also appeared in many different roles ranging from an Italian hair tonic salesman/con artist in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, a gay French race car driving champion in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, and a royal lemur in the Madagascar movies. He’s also appearing in Martin Scorsese’s next film, Hugo Cabret.
The fact of the matter is that Baron Cohen is not only the best choice for the role of Freddie Mercury, but he really HAD to be the one cast. There’s simply no others who could pull this off, barring maybe Viggo Mortensen, who doesn’t feel as animated and theatrical as would be required. Some might say the actor was born to play this role, but I have a feeling he was born to play quite a few roles.
Many classic Queen songs will be used in this new film project, including Bohemian Rhapsody, We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions, Another One Bites The Dust, and You’re My Best Friend. At the moment, it’s unknown whether or not Baron Cohen will actually attempt to sing these himself, but that’s pretty unlikely.
The movie is aiming to begin production at some point in 2011.