On the most recent episode of “The Director’s Cut” podcast, directors David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin talked for nearly an hour about filmmaking. During that time, they touched on their shared history working with Sacha Baron Cohen.
Fincher asked Sorkin if he ever got to see the test photos of Baron Cohen in character as Freddie Mercury, the Queen rock icon. When Sorkin said he never got to see the images, Fincher replied, “Dude, you have to see … these photos are spectacular.”
Baron Cohen wanted the Queen biopic to be grounded in reality, featuring the “warts and all” of Mercury’s wild life. The living members of Queen, however, wanted (and eventually got) more of a puff piece, mostly glossing over the sex, drugs, and drama.
To this day I’m STILL bothered by the fact that Baron Cohen never got to bring his vision of the film to life and the members of Queen opted for glam over something that could truly have been remarkable. Sure, Rami Malik was great in the part–he won the Oscar for it–but Baron Cohen would’ve brought even more gravitas to the role and I am convinced it would’ve similarly been him standing at the podium that night holding an Academy Award.
Regardless, Queen’s Live Aid show will forever be considered the greatest rock performance of all time and “Bohemian Rhapsody” did an admirable job capturing the magic. Want to see exactly how the two compare? Check out the video above.