The eccentric funnyman had hoped to play the iconic singer around the time of Queen's now legendary 1985 Live Aid benefit concert. As the project came closer to fruition, however, tensions were raised based on how Mercury would be depicted. Cohen wanted a darker, grittier portrayl of the late rocker, who succumbed to AIDS in 1991, but filmmakers and even Mercury's former bandmmates were hoping for a finished product that was a more family-friendly portrait of Queen in their prime.
Cohen's physical resemblance to Mercury, coupled with his ability to sing, as seen in "Les Miserables," made the casting an understandable choice.
Cohen had brought in writer Peter Morgan and directors David Fincher and Tom Hooper to help develop the film. Despite Cohen's withdrawal, producers are said to be reaching out to find another actor to play the singer.