In September it was announced that Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat, Bruno) had signed up to play Freddie Mercury, who was the lead vocalist of rock band Queen. The movie was said to focus on the band’s formative years and lead up to Queen’s appearance at Live Aid in 1985 which is considered one of rock’s all-time great live concert performances.
Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen) was hired to write the script and he recently revealed how he got involved with the movie, and the direction he is taking it.
“Sacha was the one who asked me to write it. He was the guy who rang me up.”
“I didn’t want to write an AIDS movie, to be honest with you. And then, I just looked at the period– It’s sort of where he rejects [the other members of Queen] and comes back to them. It’s sort of like a family movie. It’s sort of like I hate my family, I want to be independent, and then I come back.”
The surviving members of Queen– Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon– are collaborating on the project as producers, and though Morgan said he would use their input to recreate the history of the band, it wasn’t going to be a puff piece or even necessarily show them in a good light:
“I’m not sure how much they’ll like what I write. I think they’ll recognize the truth in it, but it’s a series of painful memories for them. I’m essentially writing about the most painful time in the band’s history.”
Sacha Baron Cohen’s casting is still perfect even though he came up with the idea himself. The Academy loves movies based on iconic musicians (Jamie Foxx in Ray, Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart, Walk the Line, Dreamgirls) so this movie could easily be an Oscar contender in the future, especially with Peter Morgan involved.
GK Films (The Tourist, The Town) are producing, and the aim is to begin filming next year.