Is Sacha Baron Cohen the new Michael Sheen? Well, no – at least not yet, though he has just locked down a deal to play a real-life personality in a film that Peter Morgan is writing, so he’s on the way at least. And just who is he playing? Try Queen front man and icon Freddie Mercury.
Rumours have floated about this for a while, and it’s tough to argue that Baron Cohen can’t look like Freddie, because we know he can rock a ‘tache. Plus he’s long since proven he can go OTT, which was definitely a highlight of many Mercury performances. The big question is whether he’ll be able to replicate Freddie's vocal skills, since few people can sing like that man could. Baron Cohen had to sing to audition for Sweeney Todd (though he didn’t do a lot of warbling in the final film), so we know he’s at least got a set of pipes.
Morgan’s script will follow Queen’s formative years and chart the band’s rise to success, capped by their appearance at 1985’s Live Aid concert. Graham King’s GK Films has nabbed a rights deal that includes access to their most famous tracks, including Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are The Champions, We Will Rock you and Another One Bites The Dust.
“Queen is one of the greatest rock bands of all time, and a music brand all unto itself,” King says in a statement. “Freddie Mercury was an awe-inspiring performer, so with Sacha in the starring role coupled with Peter’s screenplay and the support of Queen, we have the perfect combination to tell the real story behind their success.”
So what do you think? Can the man who was Borat and Bruno be Mercury? And who would you cast as the rest of Queen? Chewbacca with a perm for Brian May, anyone?
Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re going off to listen to the Flash Gordon soundtrack again…