Queen legend Brian May says Borat/Ali G
star Sacha Baron Cohen just wasn't right for the planned Freddie Mercury biopic because he would ultimately be distracting to the audience.
May tells Classic Rock magazine that Cohen had plenty of enthusiasm for the project, which helped the band "kick it into the start position."
But in the end they felt that his presence in the movie would draw attention to his Cohen rather than Freddie.
"What led us to that conclusion was the last three movies that he’s made – The Dictator, Les Miserables and Hugo – in which he makes outstanding performances, but they’re very much Sacha Baron Cohen performances," May said. "And we thought there has to be no distraction in the Freddie movie. You have to really suspend that disbelief – the man who plays Freddie, you have to really believe is Freddie. And we didn’t that could really happen with Sacha."
May added that the realization was not a criticism of Cohen's talent whatsoever. "It’s just a feeling that it was not going to work – that the pieces didn’t fit together anymore. But we parted company on very good terms."
May adds that a replacement for Cohen in the movie is already close to being locked in, although he can't yet say who it is.