What Sacha Baron Cohen Did for the Holidays

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Sacha Baron Cohen Freddie Mercury Queen

Sacha Baron Cohen is probably nicer than you.  And richer. But neither of you will bring the Freddie Mercury biopic to the screen.

There. I said it.

Borat/Bruno/Ali G and his wife Isla Fisher have donated $1,000,000 to help children in Syria through two different agencies. The couple gave £336,000 – that’s half a million, American, to The Sunday Times (UK) Christmas appeal to help pay for 250,000 children to be vaccinated against a potential measles outbreak in Syria. The other $500,000 went to the New York-based International Rescue Committee, which helps not only refugees but victims of “the world’s worst humanitarian crises” (refuge.org).

Weren’t we talking about the Freddie Mercury biopic?

So, well done Mr. and Mrs. Baron Cohen, and mazel tov on that third baby. Come back to work, soon, Isla. In fact, your husband may have a little more free time for childcare, as it looks like the Freddie Mercury biopic to which he had been attached to for years and years is moving along without him.  Nick Romano at pop site Collider reports that the producers are courting Ben Whishaw to play the Queen frontman. Whishaw is perhaps best known for his portrayal Ben Whishaw Freddie Mercuryof Q in the two most recent James Bond films, and his star is rising. He got a lot of press when he replaced Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington the Bear in critical and box office success “Paddington”, he’s third- or fourth-billed in Oscar-bait true story “The Danish Girl”, and he is a real asshole to Carey Mulligan as one the male leads in “Suffragette”.

The script outline for the Mercury movie has been written and rewritten many times – apparently Baron Cohen’s desire for a gritty, sexy, R-rated story was one of the reasons it just wasn’t proceeding towards production. Industry site Deadline reported last month that the producers of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” as it may be called and are you at all surprised by that, have decided on a screenwriter – Anthony McCarten, best known for his recent work on “The Theory of Everything” and “Death of a Superhero”.

So, a missed opportunity for fans of Sacha Baron Cohen and Queen, who’d like to see what he could have brought to the persona that was Freddie Mercury. For a different type of theatrics, we will have to wait for his next film, “Alice Through the Looking Glass”, starring Johnny Depp again but this time with Tim Burton only producing. Directing “Looking Glass” is James Bobin, writer/director of Baron Cohen’s “Da Ali G Show”. No word on what SBC was paid for his role, but I’ve a feeling that generous Syrian donation didn’t leave the family with no turkey this holiday season.

 

A former ABC National, Dallas and Atlanta radio personality, Martina O'Boyle is now making movies and covering culture in London, Dublin, and as far in Europe as the cheapie flights will take her, for Pop Culture Beast.
Martina O'BoyleWhat Sacha Baron Cohen Did for the Holidays