Sacha Baron Cohen has demonstrated his ability to completely disappear into roles with his cult hit films Borat and Bruno. Cohen’s next big character will be just as flamboyant, but this time based in reality. He just signed on to play Freddie Mercury in a Queen biopic.
The Queen and Frost/Nixon scribe Peter Morgan is handling the script, though no director or other cast members have been announced (but since it’s a Morgan script Michael Sheen is expected to play a role). Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Productions and GK Films are producing. The film has the complete cooperation and blessing of Mercury’s estate and the three remaining members of Queen. And if parts of that sentence were a surprise to you then you should know (spoiler alert) Mercury is dead. He succumbed to AIDS in 1991 while the band was still going strong (end 19 year old spoilers).
Let the wild speculation about a potential Oscar nomination begin! Cohen’s playing a musician in a biopic that has a disease and we all know the Academy only needs those three things to hand over a statue. It worked for Jaime Foxx, Jeff Bridges (kinda, sorta as Crazy Heart was a faux-biopic) and almost did for Joaquin Phoenix, so it’ll be interesting to see at least whether or not this portrayal will be as successful.
Alternate/shameful headlines considered for this piece: Borat to become a Queen; Baron Cohen Now ‘Under Pressure;’ Borat to exclaim ‘I am a Champion, very nice!y;’ Queen: Cultural Learning of the Band to Make Benefit for Cohen’s Quest for Oscar; Boratian Rhapsody; Mercury Rises For Baron Cohen. You can see why we didn’t use these. You’re welcome.