By now, everyone has heard that ‘Borat’ and ‘The Dictator‘ star Sacha Baron Cohen has been more than eager to get his long planned Freddie Mercury biopic off the ground. Aside from the obvious resemblance to the late, great Queen frontman, the adored ambush comedian has some significant singing skills as well, which he showcased in Tim Burton’s adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Sweeney Todd’ and in the recent big screen version of the hit musical ‘Les Miserables,’ so the part appears to be a natural choice.
Now, the UK newspaper ‘The Sun‘ is reporting that Cohen is consulting with a vocal coach in hopes of getting his voice to match that of the man behind such iconic hits as “Killer Queen,” “Somebody to Love,” and of course, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” A source is quoted as saying that, “Sacha is a huge Queen fan and is focused on getting Freddie’s mannerisms, style and speech perfect. He is working on building his vocals. It is an uphill task, because Freddie has such a unique power and tone.” Even with such help, it’s still unclear if the actor will be allowed to do his own singing, or if Mercury’s recognizable pipes will be dubbed in later.
Another uphill task may be finding a director. Right now, rumors have the project being helmed by the master of the unnecessary close-up, Oscar winner (‘The King’s Speech’) Tom Hooper. He worked with Cohen on ‘Les Miz’ and used an unique, “recorded live” dynamic to give his actors a chance to “perform” their song without having to deal with playback and lip syncing. If he does take a seat behind the lens and stays with such an approach, Cohen will have to be an expert mimic, or a masterful actor, or both. Here’s hoping those lessons pay off.