Sacha Baron Cohen not returning to Freddie Mercury biopic

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Queen guitarist Brian May has said the band’s manager made up a claim that Sacha Baron Cohen would return to a Freddie Mercury biopic.

A film based on the life of the gay Queen frontman has been in the works for years – but hit a stumbling block in 2013 when Baron Cohen opted to pull out of the project over “creative differences”.

James Bond star Ben Whishaw was signed to replace him – but production on the film was later reported to have stalled due to scripting problems.

Speaking at the Artist and Manager Awards last week, Mr Beach said that Baron Cohen had signed back up to the project to star, write, produce and direct, joking about the seven years the biopic has been in the works.

However, following the event, guitarist Brian May has said that Mr Beach invented the claim as a joke.

He wrote: “[Jim] said that, in response to enquiries about the progress on the Freddie feature film, that Sacha Baron Cohen had been re-engaged to write, produce, and direct the film, as well as starring in all four major roles.

“I’m afraid some folks might have taken it seriously!”

Whishaw later admitted he had no idea what was happening with the film, or whether it was going ahead – making his further involvement unlikely.

Mercury died of AIDS-related bronchial pneumonia in 1991.