Sacha Baron Cohen on failed Freddie Mercury biopic: ‘It really was an artistic difference’

Sacha Baron Cohen joined The Howard Stern Show on Tuesday to promote his upcoming film, The Brothers Grimsby. While discussing a host of topics, Baron Cohen also gave more insight on his attempt to make a Freddie Mercury biopic.

Baron Cohen was poised to write the movie and star as Mercury, the lead vocalist and songwriter of Queen, who died in 1991 from complications from AIDS. Staying true to his no-holds-barred approach, Baron Cohen¬†wanted to make an edgy movie with a deep dive into Mercury’s personal life, but the remaining Queen members wanted a cleaner film.

“There are amazing stories about Freddie Mercury. Crazy! The guy was wild, he was living an extreme lifestyle,” Baron Cohen said.

“There are stories about little people with plates with cocaine on their heads walking around parties… You gotta remember, and I understand it, they (Queen) are a band. They want to protect their legacy as a band. They want it to be about Queen, and I fully understand that.”

Baron Cohen said he had been working on the film about the iconic rocker for six years before dropping out of the project in 2013. He said he and the band members had different ideas of how the movie should play out.

Despite the differing opinions, Baron Cohen said he understood why the band members wanted complete control of the film.

“The problem is, and I think it’s with any biopic and I fully understand why Queen wanted to do this, if you’re in control of your writer of your life story, why wouldn’t you depict yourself as great as possible?” Baron Cohen said.¬†“The remaining members are still great musicians. Brian May is an amazing musician.

“Listen, at the end of the day, it really was an artistic difference.”

Listen to Baron Cohen’s full interview with Howard Stern below, where he also discussed his Oscars appearance as Ali G., a scene from his upcoming movie that depicts Donald Trump contracting HIV, and much more.

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