The always-controversial Sacha Baron Cohen made headlines last month after he surprised everyone at the Oscars by presenting as his iconic character Ali G. Now the actor is hitting the promotional trail in support of his new comedy The Brothers Grimsby, which hits theaters this weekend, and the actor also shed some light on why he left the Untitled Freddie Mercury Biopic. During an interview with the Howard Stern Show, the actor revealed that he left the project because he didn't see eye to eye about the direction of the story with the surviving members of Queen. Here's what he had to say about how an unnamed member of the band described how they wanted the story to unfold.
"He goes it's such a great movie, because such an amazing thing happens in the middle of the movie. I said, 'What happens in the middle of the movie?' He goes, 'You know, Freddie dies.' I go, all right, so it's a bit like Pulp Fiction, where the end is the middle and the middle is the end. ... I go, 'All right, that's a wild movie. All right, that's interesting.' ... He goes, 'No, no, no. Normal movie.' I go, 'So wait a minute, what happens in the second half of the movie?' And he said, 'Well, you know, 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."
Sacha Baron Cohen had been attached to star as Freddie Mercury for six years, before leaving the project in 2013, because he wanted to make an R-rated movie that explored the singer's homosexual lifestyle, but the band wanted to make a family-friendly tale. Ben Whishaw came aboard to replace Sacha Baron Cohen, with Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything) writing the script. Oddly enough, Queen's manager revealed last March that Sacha Baron Cohen was not only coming back to star, but he has also agreed to write, direct and produce the biopic, but it seemed that never happened either. Here's what the actor had to say about what he wanted to see out of a Freddie Mercury biopic.
"There are amazing stories about Freddie Mercury. The guy was wild. He was living an extreme lifestyle. There are stories of "little people" with plates with cocaine on their heads, walking around parties. It's just an amazing story. I understand it. They're a band. They wanted to protect their legacy."
Last year, a report from Consequence of Sound revealed that production would begin sometime this summer, but as of now, the project still doesn't have a director attached. Dexter Fletcher (Eddie the Eagle) was set to direct at one point, but it doesn't seem that he is involved anymore. That earlier report also claimed that Johnny Flynn was playing Queen's Roger Taylor, with Gemma Arterton playing Mercury's longtime partner, Mary Austin, but their involvement has yet to be confirmed. What do you think about Sacha Baron Cohen's reasons for leaving this biopic?