Roger Taylor Compares Sacha Baron Cohen To Rami Malek On Portraying Freddie Mercury
During a recent interview with Classic Rock, Queen drummer Roger Taylor reflected on the successful biopic, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ and the performance of Rami Malek, who portrayed Freddie Mercury. According to the rocker, their first choice was Sacha Baron Cohen, who would have been a complete disaster.
Brian May revealed that they were considering doing a movie about Queen and their lead vocalist Freddie Mercury as early as 2010. It was announced that the film was going to cover the period up to their legendary Live Aid performance in 1985, and it was going to feature Sacha Baron Cohen as Mercury.
It was officially confirmed in April 2011 that the production was moving forward, but May had his concerns regarding Cohen as the band was worried about harming Mercury’s legacy. Eventually, Baron Cohen left the project in July 2013 due to creative differences as his vision for portraying the iconic frontman didn’t fit with the band members’ vision.
Later that year, May said that the actor left the project on good terms, and one of the reasons for his departure was his reputation as a comedian and prankster, which could have been distracting for the fans. Following Cohen’s exit, they needed another actor to portray Freddie Mercury, and several actors were considered, including Ben Whishaw.
As we all know, Rami Malek finally portrayed Mercury in the 2018 movie ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ It was the perfect choice as Malek won the Best Actor at the 91st Academy Awards for perfectly capturing the essence of the flamboyant frontman. However, Mercury could have been portrayed by both Baron Cohen or Ben Whishaw, and Roger Taylor has an opinion on one of these hypothetical possibilities.
During a recent interview, the Queen drummer was asked how the movie would be if Sacha Baron Cohen had portrayed Freddie Mercury. The musician directly said that it would have been a complete failure as Cohen isn’t a good actor, just a successful comedian, which didn’t correspond to the challenging task of playing Mercury.
If you ask Taylor, Rami Malek did an excellent job in an ‘almost impossible role.’ After working on the movie for eight years, the rocker said that the team ultimately got it right with Malek. All they wanted was to take people on a journey with their story, help them understand their ups and downs, but end their tale with joy.
About the hypothetical portrayal of Freddie Mercury by Baron Cohen, Taylor said:
“I think he would have been utter shit. Sacha is pushy if nothing else. He’s also six inches too tall. But I watched his last five films and came to the conclusion he’s not a very good actor… I thought he was an utterly brilliant subversive comedian, that’s what he’s great at.
Anyway, I think Rami did a brilliant job in an almost impossible role. We kind of got it right in the end. We wanted to take people on a journey, make them feel up and then down, then joyous at the end.”
You can watch the trailer of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ below.