After a seven-year development period it had appeared that a new #Film biopic about Freddie Mercury, the former flamboyant lead singer with the hugely successful rock band Queen, had found the missing piece of the jigsaw to enable its go ahead after all. The reason for the excitement both in terms of the project going ahead and the expectation around the final product that was likely to be delivered, was that Queen's manager, Jim Beach had confirmed only last week the involvement of Sacha Baron Cohen in its production. The former Ali G and Borat star was expected to be a major contributor on the new film, after Beach had announced at London's Artist and Management Awards that he was due to write, direct, produce and even star in the new film depicting Freddie's life.
It now appears that the rumours and speculation were a little ahead of the game, as Queen's guitarist and one-time solo artist in his own right, Bryan May has countered the news on his personal blog by saying that it was all meant to be "a small joke".
May has previously appeared to be supportive of Ben Whishaw playing the part of Freddie in the planned film, an actor who has featured as "Q" in the James Bond vehicle Skyfall in recent years and also provided the voice of "Paddington Bear" in last year's film Paddington.
Baron Cohen would have been an intriguing choice, given his own extravagant background in television and movies in the past, with Borat being a typical vehicle for his undoubted talents, being both amusing and cringeworthy in equal measure. He is at heart a true showman in much the same way as the late great Mercury was when performing on stage for the globally renowned Queen, but it seems that both May and Roger Taylor (the two remaining original band members) had their reservations about his involvement all along and were fearful that his appearance in the film "would be very distracting." Baron Cohen had been involved previously on the project but had dropped out in 2013.
Mercury, real name Farrokh Bulsara who was born in Zanzibar (which is now part of Tanzania), tragically died at the age of 45 in 1991 from bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS. His voice and #Music was quite unique in many respects, possessing the ability to sing across a four-octave range and deliver extremely powerful vocals as a consequence. Besides recording unforgettable tracks such as Bohemian Rhapsody (often voted among the most popular tracks of all-time), Killer Queen and We Are the Champions with Queen, he also recorded as a solo artist and famously duetted with opera singer Montserrat Caballe on what became the signature tune for the 1992 Olympics, Barcelona. #Celebrities