Queen Drummer Reveals Why Bohemian Rhapsody Cut Sacha Baron Cohen
The Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody has already released abroad and with an American debut imminent, surviving members of the band are now making the rounds for interviews in the run-up to release.
In a recent discussion with The Associated Press, Queen drummer Roger Taylor revealed why Sacha Baron Cohen (who was initially attached to play Freddie Mercury) was removed from the project in 2013. And it seems it came down to the actor not taking the role seriously.
“There was a lot of talk about Sacha and stuff. It was never really on. I don’t think he took it seriously enough — didn’t take Freddie seriously enough. But I think, really, it’s a long road, but we’re at the end of it now.”
Unfortunately, Taylor didn’t elaborate on his statement, so we can’t really know what occurred, but Cohen also had words for the direction of the film when he left it, telling the public that Brian May was a great musician, but not “a great movie producer.” After exiting, the actor was initially replaced with Ben Whishaw before Rami Malek was tapped for the role. And while the Mr. Robot star is undoubtedly a great talent, I would’ve preferred Sacha Baron Cohen as the infamous musician.
People often forget how wild of a man Mercury was in his life. There were parties with little people walking around with platters of drugs, an aborted collaboration with Michael Jackson and all kinds of other misadventures. Cohen could nail the pinball like energy of Mercury in his sleep while Malek, meanwhile, seems to be giving a more muted depiction.
In any case, Bohemian Rhapsody opens in the States in November, and while the film had a troubled production (original director Bryan Singer was fired near its end), critics have praised Malek’s performance so far while overall saying that the movie’s just alright. Regardless, Mercury’s name and the band he led will certainly live on.