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Karaoke fans of the world unite! Peter Morgan, writer of The Queen and The Last King of Scotland, is set to script an untitled biopic of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. Now, Deadline reports that Sacha Baron Cohen of Borat fame, is set to star as the legendary rock singer.
Although full details about the script are not entirely known, the film will focus on the early years of the rock group and Mercury's life, leading up to their 1985 performance at Live Aid, considered to be one of the best live rock performances of all time.
Reactions have been slightly mixed since the initial announcement. On the one hand, you have Peter Morgan, whose resume of screenplays is among the best in the modern market. On the other, you have Cohen, Deadline noting him as an “intriguing choice.”
Intriguing is one way to describe it. Risky feels more accurate, given Cohen's history based predominately in comedic performances (Borat, Sweeney Todd, Talladega Nights). As Morgan is not known for writing comedy scripts, it's safe to assume the tone of the film to be more serious, especially given the fact that Mercury would become one of the first major rock stars to die of complications due to AIDS in the early '90s.
There's also the question of whether or not Cohen will provide his own vocals for the film, already set to feature Queen hits “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions.” He is capable of singing (see “Todd”) but trying to replicate the vocals of Freddie Mercury? Best not go there.
No word yet on a director, but whoever GK Films brings on will denote how serious they are taking the untitled project. Perhaps Cohen will surprise us all if given the proper direction.