Beach announced the news during a speech at the Artist & Management Awards in London on Thursday (March 26), the Daily Mail reports.
“You have probably followed the saga of the famous Queen-Freddie Mercury biopic which has been developing in Hollywood for the last seven years,” the manager said. “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.”
There’s still no timetable yet for when the biopic could see the light of day.
As reported in July 2013, the Borat actor — who has a striking physical resemblance to Mercury — withdrew from the project because of creative differences.
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 portrayal of the late rocker, who succumbed to AIDS in 1991, but filmmakers and even Mercury’s former bandmates Brian May and Roger Taylor were hoping for a finished product that was a more family-friendly portrait of Queen in their prime.
“In the end, we felt that his presence in the movie would be very distracting. What led us to that conclusion was the last three movies that he’s made — The Dictator, Les Miserables and Hugo,” Brian said at the time, according to the Daily Mail.
“And we thought there has to be no distraction in the Freddie movie — we didn’t think that could really happen with Sacha,” May added.