You know that gritty, soul-searching Freddie Mercury biopic starring Sacha Baron Cohen that you wanted? It’s not going to happen.
According to Deadline Hollywood, Cohen has left the project due to creative differences with Queen, and while that’s normally code for Any Number Of Other Reasons, it sounds like this time the differences were legitimate. Instead of wanting a real movie that dug into R-rating territory (for an iconic musician whose life was certainly not PG), the band was more interested in the Mickey Mouse version of the story. Cohen also brought in heavy hitters like Peter Morgan, David Fincher and Tom Hooper to work on the film, but the band (who had creative control) wouldn’t approve them. Because they’re the last people you want working on your friend’s life story, right? Without Cohen on board, Hooper is out as well.
This is a shame. In a studio situation where it’s hard enough to get mature movies made, even when they are essentially recipes for Oscar gold, it’s doubly difficult to see something brought down by the very people who should have a vested interest in telling the most compelling story possible. The funny/tragic thing is that even if Queen wants a PG-rating for their bandmate’s story, as soon as Mercury kisses a dude, the MPAA will probably slap it with an NC-17 anyway. So even though we all know what the lyrics say, the only question that matters now is whether the show will go on.