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David Fincher praises "spectacular" Sacha Baron Cohen in unmade Freddie Mercury biopic

Sacha Baron Cohen in Borat 2
(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin chewed the fat on the most recent episode of The Director's Cut podcast, and a fair amount of that chat was dedicated to Sacha Baron Cohen. Sorkin worked with Baron Cohen on The Trial of the Chicago 7, while Fincher collaborated with the actor on a project that never came to fruition – a Freddie Mercury biopic.

Long before Rami Malek won an Oscar for his portrayal of the Queen frontman in Bohemian Rhapsody, Baron Cohen had been dreaming up his own biopic. The unmade movie had several directors attached to it, including Tom Hooper, Stephen Frears, and Fincher.

On the podcast, Fincher asked Sorkin if he ever got to see the test photos of Baron Cohen in character. When Sorkin said no, Fincher replied, "Dude, you have to see…these photos are spectacular." However, artistic differences between Baron Cohen and the studio meant that the movie never saw the light of the day.

“Sacha wanted to make a very outrageous film, which I would imagine Freddie Mercury would have approved of,” Frears, who was in the director's chair when the project fell apart, told Vulture in 2018. “Outrageous in terms of his homosexuality and outrageous in terms of endless naked scenes. Sacha loved all of that.”

Baron Cohen is best known for his controversial comedy and his portrayal of satirical characters like Borat and Ali G. Frears added: “You could always tell there would be trouble with the rest of the band because [Sacha] was so outrageous and they weren’t. They were much more conventional.”

Fincher and Sorkin both have movies in the awards season race this year – Mank and The Trial of the Chicago 7, both of which were made for Netflix. If you've already seen them both, check out our list of the other best Netflix movies to stream right now.

I’m an Entertainment Writer at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections – I help bring you all the latest news and the occasional feature, too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.