Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sacha Baron Cohen Won't Be Returning to the Queen Biopic After All

Wait a minute, only yesterday you were saying Sacha Baron Cohen was playing Freddie Mercury?

That's right. Yesterday it was widely reported – including on this website – that Sacha Baron Cohen had resolved his "creative differences" with Brian May and Roger Taylor and would be doing the biopic after all.

Early April Fools' Day prank?

Nope. Queen's manager Jim Beach said as much in a speech as the Artist & Management awards. He told the audience:

"You have probably followed the saga of the famous Queen-Freddie Mercury biopic which has been developing in Hollywood for the last seven years. An important breakthrough is that we have now managed to persuade Sacha Baron Cohen to write, produce and direct this movie, and he has also agreed to star."

So was the manager lying?

He was joking – or at least that's what Brian May says. On his official website he says it was a "small joke that Jim threw in":

"He 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!"

Has Sacha Baron Cohen taken it seriously?

He's been very quiet about the whole thing – which is suspicious in itself.

Remind me when and why he stopped being involved in the first place.

Back in July 2013 because of "creative differences".

Later that year Brian May explained that they thought he would be "distracting."

"In the end, we felt that his presence in the movie would be very distracting... He makes outstanding performances but they're very much Sacha Baron Cohen performances. And we thought there has to be no distraction in the Freddie movie — we didn't think that could really happen with Sacha."

So who will play the Queen frontman?

Well, Ben Whishaw was supposed to Baron Cohen's replacement and was officially confirmed way back in December 2013. But he's also been keeping schtum and his filming schedule for 2015 looks awfully busy.

I won't hold my breath then.

It does seem more like a farce than a film at the moment but you never know – perhaps this is an early April Fools' Day prank and Brian May is the one having a "small joke".

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sacha Baron Cohen Back on the Freddie Mercury Biopic, Now With Total Creative Control

A biopic based on the life of legendary Queen frontman Freddie Mercury has been in the works for years, with Sacha Baron Cohen previously attached to star before he was forced off the project by surviving band members who disagreed with his vision. Since then, the project has fumbled, with various actors and directors rumored for the biopic, which has made negligible progress since Cohen’s departure. Now it appears that the surviving bandmates have had a change of heart, pulling Cohen back onto the project, this time granting him complete control.

The Daily Mail reports that Cohen is once again attached to the Mercury biopic, not only to star, but also to write and direct. During the Artist and Management Awards this week, Queen manager Jim Beach made the announcement:

"An important breakthrough is that we have now managed to persuade Sacha Baron Cohen to write, produce and direct this movie, and he has also agreed to star."

Previously, the surviving band members were hesitant about Cohen’s involvement in the project — specifically, Brian May was concerned that Cohen’s prevalence as a comedic talent would not translate well to a more serious effort. Not only does Cohen have the near-perfect appearance and physicality required to play Mercury, but a more serious project would allow him to showcase a wider range to audiences more familiar with his various alter egos. It’s just the kind of role he needs — think Adam Sandler in Punch Drunk Love.

Since Cohen initially departed the project, actors like Dominic Cooper and Ben Whishaw have been linked to the role of Mercury, while directors including Tom Hooper, Stephen Frears and David Fincher (yeah, sure) were also rumored candidates at various times.

The surviving Queen members have made a complete 180, switching from having a lack of faith in Cohen to giving him total control. The biopic will mark Cohen’s directorial debut, which means these guys are placing a lot of trust in the actor to pull this thing off.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Quotes about Queen & Freddie Mercury...

Freddie Mercury - 5 Sept. 1946 – 24 Nov. 1991

"When we lost Freddie, we not only lost a great personality, a man with a great sense of humour, a true showman, but we lost probably the best. The best virtuoso rock 'n' roll singer of all time. He could sing anything in any style. He could change his style from line to line and, God, that's an art. And he was brilliant at it." - Roger Daltrey

"My lifetime role model and hero is Freddie Mercury of Queen." - Psy

"Freddie's voice has so much texture to it. It’s supersexy. He kind of grabs at everything, he squeezes it. He was completely over the top in the best possible way. " - Adam Lambert

“There is only one Freddie, and it is impossible to replace him.” – John Deacon

“We constantly hear about what kind of a great showman Freddie was. And sometimes it infuriates me. No, he was not a showman – he was a great musician! – Roger Taylor

"There's so few people behind the glamour who really make it as true performers. It's very strange thoroughbred condition to be a successful musician and still be able to project it with confidence. Freddie had that, and there's not many people who have had it." - Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin

"There are people these days who can do things on the guitar which are beyond my reach. There's one guy who plays with Queen who can do things I would dream of doing. I sincerely mean that." - Eric Clapton

"Rumor has it that Queen shall soon be crowned "the new Led Zeppelin," which is an event that would certainly suit this observer just fine. There's no doubt that this funky, energetic English quartet has all the tools they'll need to lay claim to the Zep's abdicated heavy-metal throne, and beyond that to become a truly influential force in the rock world. Their debut album is superb... They're the first of a whole new wave of English rockers, and you'd best learn to love 'em now 'cause they're here to stay. Regal bearings aside, Queen is a monster." - Rolling Stone Mag. (1973)

"Someone told me that I might have the chance to sing with Queen... and I was like: Don't ask me twice, mothe*':#ker. I'll be there!" - James Hetfield of Metallica

"They've been the biggest influence on my life." - Gary Cherone

"The worst day of my life was once that my mom didn't allow me to go to a Queen concert because I was grounded." - Lars Ulrich of Metallica

"When I was with Kansas, we toured with Queen on their first visit to the States and became good friends. They profoundly influenced us." Kerry Livgren of Kansas

“He had theatricality, he was larger than life, new, fresh, cool. This is a god that walks as man.” - Mike Myers

"I hope Freddie will be looking at me from up there." - Garth Brooks

"I have seen the future of pop music and it is a band called Queen." - Jac Holzman, Elektra records.

"The biggest band ever." - Joe Elliot of Def Leppard. 

"The bright light of Freddie's talent has been so cruelly extinguished... it needn't have happened, it shouldn't have happened. Please let's not let it happen again." - Elizabeth Taylor

"Playing with Queen was the biggest moment of my career. It was like living a childhood fantasy." - George Michael

"As Freddie loved a spectacle. I think he would have enjoyed it. Freddie was to me the ultimate performer." - Paul Young

"The best band in the world is Queen, definitely." - Matthew Bellamy of Muse

"There's not a single day where I don't miss Freddie Mercury." - John Taylor of Duran Duran

"Freddie was such a big personality. Queen had record out throughout my whole life, and it's a part of us that everyone's lost." - Lisa Stansfield

 “I was deeply saddened when I heard Freddie passed away. A great performer, a great voice, a great musician was lost to the world. Thank God we have the music to listen to forever.” - Rob Halford of Judas Priest

"All I've got on my iPod is every single Queen song and every single Judas Priest song. Queen were an incredible heavy metal band. I saw them on their first ever tour, at Birmingham Town Hall. They just blew me away." Rob Halford of Judas Priest

“I watched him, and I watched him die, and it was so painful for me, because I really loved Freddie Mercury, the way that he just truly went with his voice.” - Dave Mustaine of Megadeth.

"If I didn't have Freddie Mercury's lyrics to hold on to as a kid, I don't know where I would be. It taught me about all forms of music. It would open my mind. I never really had a bigger teacher in my whole life." - Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses

"Choosing my favourite Queen song is like choosing my favourite time to breathe air." Matt Heafy of Trivium

"Freddie Mercury was my all-time favorite vocalist and consummate frontman" - James LaBrie of Dream Theater

"I adored Freddie Mercury and Queen had a hit called Radio Gaga. That's why I love the name. Freddie was unique - one of the biggest personalities in the whole of pop music. He was not only a singer but also a fantastic performer, a man of the theatre and someone who constantly transformed himself. In short: a genius." - Lady Gaga

“Freddie, if you’re out there and you want to choose any artist to channel your work, please give me an album, or at least a middle eight.” - Robbie Williams

"The difference between Freddie and almost all the other rock stars was that he was selling the voice." - Montserrat Caballé

"Freddie Mercury was and remains my biggest influence. The combination of his sarcastic approach to writing lyrics and his 'I don't give a fuck' attitude really inspired my music.” - Katy Perry

"Every band should study Queen at Live Aid. If you really feel like that barrier is gone, you become Freddie Mercury. I consider him the greatest frontman of all time. Like, it's funny? you'd imagine that Freddie was more than human, but ... You know how he controlled Wembley Stadium at Live Aid in 1985? He stood up there and did his vocal warm ups with the audience. Something that intimate, where they realize, 'Oh yeah, he's just a f***ing dude." - Dave Grohl of Nirvana & Foo Fighter

"Freddie Mercury was one of those guys who didn't care. That's extremely rare, I think, When you couple that with his musical abilities, well, I wouldn't say he was the greatest piano player in the world, but he was certainly intensely musical. And his vocals; there's a guy I wouldn't want to have a cutting contest with as a singer. He had just silly ability. When you listen to his vibrato, it's erratic. That's just talent, straight-up talent and creativity. That's ridiculous. Imagine what he would have been able to do if he had been trained. It wouldn't have affected his spontaneity or creativity. I think that's a big myth, this idea that when you become educated, it takes away from the soulful part. That's just once-in-a-century talent." - Harry Connick, Jr

"Of all the more theatrical rock performers, Freddie took it further than the rest... he took it over the edge. And of course, I always admired a man who wears tights. I only saw him in concert once and as they say, he was definitely a man who could hold an audience in the palm of his hand." - David Bowie

"Freddie made the last person at the back of the furthest stand in a stadium feel that he was connected. He gave people proof that a man could achieve his dreams--made them feel that through him they were overcoming their own shyness, and becoming the powerful figure of their ambitions. And he lived life to the full. He devoured life. He celebrated every minute. And, like a great comet, he left a luminous trail which will sparkle for many a generation to come." - Brian May 

“This man (FreddieMercury) truly possessed the greatest voice in the history of rock. Journalists, culture experts and analysts have already made several hundred comments on this topic and nothing can be added here.” – Brian May

“For me, Freddy is the brightest representative of the era of rock, when people were not afraid to live life to the full. This would hardly ever be repeated. ” -Annie Lennox

“Freddie is great. At a time when everybody around was doing God knows what, Queen was making music. ” – Ozzy Osbourne

 "There are some singers that have great technique and then there are those that have a certain quality or style in their voice. Some have both, like Freddie Mercury, but to me, I prefer style over technique."– Ozzy Osbourne

"I lost somebody who I thought was my eternal love ... When he died I felt we'd had a marriage. We'd lived our vows. We'd done it for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health. You could never have let go of Freddie unless he died - and even then it was difficult." 
-  Mary Austin

(The Beatles) Paul Mccartney talk about Freddie Mercury.