From a commercial standpoint, the release of the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody in 2018 was an utter success, raking in over $910 million worldwide, whilst critically it fared a little differently. Though the film was rewarded with four Oscars at the 2019 Academy Awards, including one for Rami Malek in the leading role and even a nomination for the coveted Best Picture, the movie’s legacy since its release is a little more chequered.
Criticised for brushing over Mercury’s battle with AIDS as well as his struggles with his sexuality, Bohemian Rhapsody was a light biopic, brought to life by a theatrical Malek. Though the Oscar-winning actor wasn’t always going to star in the film, with Sacha Baron Cohen being linked to the project way back in 2010. Unfortunately, the Borat star left the production in 2013 and claimed Brian May and Roger Taylor did not share the same vision for a “warts-and-all” depiction of Mercury, telling Howard Stern in 2016, “They’ve got to protect their legacy as a band”.
In a brand new interview with Roger Taylor in Classic Rock magazine, however, it appears as though there was a little more infighting than Sacha Baron Cohen suggests, with Taylor stating: “I think he would have been utter shit”.
Continuing, Taylor added, “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”.
In his damning assessment of the iconic modern comedian of Borat, Bruno and The Dictator, Taylor did also add: “I thought he was an utterly brilliant subversive comedian. That’s what he’s great at”.
Take a look at the trailer for the Oscar-winning Freddie Mercury biopic below, starring Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee, Lucy Boynton, Mike Myers and not Sacha Baron Cohen.