Queen drummer Roger Taylor has said that Sacha Baron Cohen would have been “utter shit” portraying the band’s late frontman Freddie Mercury in the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ biopic.
Taylor claimed in a new interview that Cohen, who was originally cast as Mercury before reportedly quitting in 2013 over creative differences, wouldn’t have nailed the role that Rami Malek eventually won the Best Actor Academy Award for.
He told Classic Rock magazine: “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.”
Later in the interview he appeared to backtrack. “I might be wrong there,” he added. “I thought [Cohen] 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.”
Taylor’s comments follow the news that, despite the Queen movie being a box office smash, the 2018 release is facing controversy, with 20th Century Fox claiming that the movie actually lost money – to the tune of $51 million.
The Freddie Mercury biopic is at the centre of a legal dispute between its screenwriter, Anthony McCarten, and producer Graham King and his production company, GK Films.
McCarten is suing King over an unreceived five percent of GK’s backend profit, which he claims he had an agreement for. The production company have shifted the blame onto Fox and its parent company, Disney.
Fox’s argument is over what constitutes “defined net proceeds”, with them claiming that they are not obliged to pay if the film made a loss of more than $51 million. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ grossed $911 million on a budget of around $50 million.
The case would appear to be the latest example of creative accounting by a major Hollywood studio. In 2005, Peter Jackson sued New Line Cinema over their handling of ‘The Fellowship of the Ring”s revenue, which he claimed deprived him of millions of dollars he believed he was owed.
In 2010, meanwhile, Warner Bros. used net profit accounting to claim that ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ had ultimately cost them $167 million, despite it bringing in $938 million at the global box office.