Queen guitarist Brian May has slammed Sacha Baron Cohen over recent comments the actor made about the long-gestating Freddie Mercury biopic, for which he was initially attached to star.
Talking last month to Howard Stern, Cohen claimed that he walked away from the project he’d been connected to since 2010 after learning that it wasn’t to be the “warts n’ all” retelling he’d been hoping for, and instead would take the story beyond Mercury’s death from AIDS complications in 1991 to “see how the band carries on from strength to strength.”
But May now suggests that it wasn’t the actor’s decision to leave the project, attacking him for speaking to the press.
“We had some nice times with Sacha kicking around ideas but he went off and told untruths about what happened,” May told The Mail on Sunday. “Why would he go away and say that we didn’t want to make a gritty film? Are we the kind of people who have ever ducked from the truth? I don’t think so.”
No doubt referencing Cohen’s recent box-office bomb Grimsby, May added: “We decided he wasn’t right for the role for very good reasons, which will become apparent if you watch what he’s done recently. It’s obvious that it wasn’t going to work, him playing Freddie. It wouldn’t suspend your disbelief.”
Underlining the project’s still TBC status, May said there wasn’t a director yet attached and that Ben Whishaw, who was named as Cohen’s replacement late last year, hadn’t actually been confirmed.
“We’re hoping Ben Whishaw will do it,” he said. “He’s fabulous — a real actor.”
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter