Deadline has broken big news that Sacha Baron Cohen, most famous for playing wacky characters on Da Ali G Show and in his hit films Borat and Bruno, will take on the serious role of playing Freddie Mercury in an upcoming Queen biopic. The script is being written by Peter Morgan ( The Damned United, Frost/Nixon, and, fittingly, The Queen) with no director yet attached.
The story will focus on Queen's beginnings, culminating with the band's show-stealing, landmark performance at Live Aid in 1985. While it currently sounds like it won't specifically be a Freddie Mercury biopic, his role in the band was so integral and crucial that I can only imagine his very unique and dramatic arc will be what carries the film. Morgan has made a great career for himself writing superb period pieces based on real people and events, and I can't think of anyone better suited for what will be THE Queen movie. Along with that, Queen will be licensing their music for the first time to a film about the band, and have formed their own production company, Queen Films, for their involvement in the project.
I don't doubt Cohen's ability to pull this off, either. While he's known for his comedic roles, they are always firmly planted in character, and his strident commitment to those characters is what made them work. Not to mention he very much looks the part. The only real question for me is the singing in the film. This is always a tough one in music pics (see Gary Busey in The Buddy Holly Story) and I almost feel, given how iconic a voice Mercury's is, that they should just go with real recordings. Time will tell, I suppose, but man, I am going to see the shit out of this.