Sacha Baron Cohen will be playing Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic based on the Queen frontman’s life before his epic Live Aid performance in 1985, the BBC reports. But can Sacha Baron Cohen capture the larger-than-life spirit of Freddie Mercury? And just how great is Sacha Baron Cohen’s singing?
One thing is for sure: Sacha Baron Cohen should have no problem rocking the skin-tight, slit-to-the-bellybutton onesies Freddie Mercury wowed crowds with throughout his career or replicating the Queen frontman’s flamboyant onstage antics. And while Sacha Baron Cohen doesn’t quite have Freddie Mercury’s perfect facial structure, he’ll have no problem growing that iconic ‘stache. But is that enough to merit him winning the chance at portraying such an amazing human being on the silver screen?
Well, like Freddie Mercury, Sacha Baron Cohen is known for giving his audience his all, as evidenced by the total transformations he made to portray Borat and Bruno in two very hilariously outrageous comedies. But since he is known for making audiences laugh by becoming over-the-top parody characters, Sacha Baron Cohen’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury could end up looking just like that: a parody of a musician loved by so many. I don’t know about other Queen fans, but that definitely wouldn’t go over so well with me.
And then there’s the issue of Freddie Mercury’s awe-inspiring, almost operatic voice. Can Sacha Baron Cohen pull it off? Well, he did sing a song for ‘Sweeney Todd’, which you can listen to here. It’s not the worst singing I’ve heard, but, as Contact Music reports, his singing was bad enough to get it cut from the movie. So is that evidence that he’s going to be lip synching in his new role?
I highly doubt it, and I don’t think Sacha Baron Cohen wants to come off like a parody this time around. He’s been very dedicated to his other movie characters in the past, even staying in character off screen. I’d love to see him do the same with Freddie Mercury, and this time he’s going to have someone to study instead of having to invent a different persona himself. I’m also sure he’s probably taking singing lessons already, because I very much doubt that a man who works so hard on becoming his characters is going to want to feel as if he’s fallen short portraying one of the most important aspects of their persona.
Freddie Mercury was a fun guy, so there should be a little bit of the comedy Sacha Baron Cohen is used to here, but I think it’s great the funnyman is trying something a little more serious. Could he get Oscar buzz for his portrayal? I hope so, because that means that he would have done a decent job at capturing the spirit of such a unique individual.
I’m just glad that Adam Lambert (who was at one time rumored to be in talks to become the new frontman of Queen) didn’t get the role, and I think it will be great to see a whole new generation introduced to Queen (hopefully it will give the band the same rebirth that ‘Wayne’s World’ did). I know I’m really looking forward to see Sacha Baron Cohen as Freddie Mercury, and I sincerely hope frat boys everywhere are disappointed when they discover that they’re not seeing ‘Bruno: Behind the Music’.