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Queen’s Roger Taylor: Sacha Baron Cohen Would Have Made Mercury Biopic ‘A Joke’

Sacha Baron Cohen and Freddie Mercury
Larry Busacca, Fox Photos / Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Sacha Baron Cohen cited “creative differences” when he departed the developing Freddie Mercury biopic earlier this year, and reports at the time suggested that Mercury’s surviving bandmates in Queen were looking to produce a sanitized version of the flamboyant frontman’s life story. But according to drummer Roger Taylor, that isn’t entirely accurate.

Taylor addressed the subject in a recent interview with Mojo, and although he was initially reluctant to shed any light on the details, telling his interviewer, “I don’t want to talk about the Sacha thing,” he eventually gave in. “We felt Sacha probably wasn’t right in the end,” Taylor explained. “We didn’t want it to be a joke. We want people to be moved.”

Of course, everyone’s definition of “joke” is different, and Taylor is willing to admit that other Queen-branded projects have occasionally crossed the line into ill-advised territory. Conceding that the story of the ‘We Will Rock You’ stage musical is “slightly crass,” he conveyed his mixed emotions by adding, “I think it has its good points. I do have an aversion to musical theater, so it hasn’t been easy.”

Taylor, talking to Mojo to promote his upcoming solo LP ‘Fun on Earth,’ also weighed in on the rumored release of long-shelved demos from Mercury’s brief early-’80s sessions with Michael Jackson. Stressing that neither Mercury nor Jackson ever had a chance to finish the recordings, he confirmed that he and guitarist Brian May had “worked on them,” but cautioned that other factors could keep them in the vaults. “They’ll come out as Queen and Michael Jackson — hopefully,” he mused. “If the Michael Jackson estate can get its arse into gear.”

Next: Top 10 Freddie Mercury Queen Songs

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