Sorry, Freddie Mercury devotees: the long-rumored biopic of the Queen frontman starring Sacha Baron Cohen is still shelved, despite persistent recent rumors.
On Thursday, reports surfaced that the Borat comedian Baron Cohen had rejoined the film after Queen manager Jim Beach spoke at the Artist & Management Awards in London. "You have probably followed the saga of the famous Queen-Freddie Mercury biopic which has been developing in Hollywood for the last seven years," Beach was quoted. "An important breakthrough is that we have now managed to persuade Sacha Baron Cohen to write, produce and direct this movie, and he has also agreed to star."
Baron Cohen was initially linked to the project, not least for his striking physical similarity to the flamboyant Mercury, but the actor left the project in July 2013, citing "creative differences." The actor had expressed interest in portraying Mercury, who died of AIDS in 1991, around the time of Queen's iconic Live Aid benefit concert in 1985, with a narrative grittiness that was rumored to displease other participants.
However, Baron Cohen's return is not as imminent as Beach implied, says a source who would know: Queen guitarist Brian May, who posted a clarification on his blog yesterday.
"[Beach] said that, in response to enquiries about the progress on the Freddie feature film, that Sacha Baron Cohen had been re-engaged to write, produce, and direct the film, as well as starring in all four major roles!" wrote the musician/astrophysicist May. "I’m afraid some folks might have taken it seriously."
And another rumor bites the dust.