Roger Taylor Calls Early ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Casting ‘Utter S—’
Queen’s Roger Taylor is mincing no words in his assessment of Sacha Baron Cohen, who was originally cast to portray Freddie Mercury in the 2018 biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.
Guitarist Brian May confirmed that Cohen had been selected to play Mercury when the Oscar-winning film was announced in 2010. The Borat star left the production in 2013, claiming May and Taylor did not share his vision for a “warts-and-all” portrayal of Mercury’s life. “They’ve got to protect their legacy as a band,” Cohen told Howard Stern in 2016. “They want it to be about Queen.”
Apparently, there was no love lost with Taylor. “I think he would have been utter shit,” he told Classic Rock magazine in a new interview. “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. … I thought he was an utterly brilliant subversive comedian. That’s what he’s great at.”
May said much the same thing a few years ago, telling Classic Rock that Cohen’s initial involvement in Bohemian Rhapsody was a “near-disaster.” Shortly after the film’s release, Taylor also told the Associated Press he thought Cohen “didn’t take Freddie seriously enough” to do the job.
Rami Malek ultimately snagged the role of Mercury, and was later named Best Actor at the 2019 Academy Awards. Taylor praised Malek’s performance in the new interview, saying, “I think Rami did a brilliant job in an almost impossible role.”
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