Sacha Baron Cohen explains Freddie Mercury biopic exit
Sacha Baron Cohen quit the planned Freddie Mercury biopic because the surviving members of Queen wanted the movie to show how the band went from "strength to strength" following the singer's death.
The 'Grimsby' actor was attached to play the iconic singer - who died of AIDS in 1991 - for six years before leaving due to "artistic differences" and he has now admitted he opted out because he was unhappy with the narrative structure the surviving members of the group wanted the film to take.
He said: "[Following] my first meeting, I should never have carried on because a member of the band --I won't say who-- said 'This is such a great movie, because such an amazing thing happens in the middle of the movie.'
"I go 'What happens in the middle of the movie?' He goes 'Freddie dies'. I go, 'So you mean it's a bit like 'Pulp Fiction', where the end is the middle and the middle is the end? That's interesting'. He goes, 'No, no, no.'
"So I said 'Wait a minute. What happens in the second half of the movie?' And he said, 'Well, we see how the band carries on from strength to strength'."
"And I said, 'Listen, not one person is going to see a movie where the lead character dies from AIDS and then you carry on to see [what happens with Queen]".
The 44-year-old actor also admitted to feeling further frustrated behind the scenes of the project after the band - - guitarist Brian May, bassist John Deacon and drummer Roger Taylor - rejected a string of high-profile directors.
He added to DJ Howard Stern: "They asked me to write the movie, but I said, 'I don't know how to write a biopic'.
"So I got in Peter Morgan ('The Queen'), [but] they didn't like that.
"I brought in David Fincher who wanted to direct it, then Tom Hooper -- they were very specific about how they wanted to do it. But at the end of the day, it really was an artistic difference.
"Brian May is an amazing musician, but he's not a great movie producer", Cohen added.