Brian May slams Sacha Baron Cohen
BRIAN May has branded Sacha Baron Cohen "an a**e".
The Queen guitarist has hit out at the actor - who dropped out of playing the late Freddie Mercury in a biopic due to "artistic differences" - over his recent claims he left the movie because the surviving members of the group wanted to tell the tale of how the band went from "strength to strength" following the death of the iconic singer in 1991.
Brian fumed: "Sacha became an a**e.
"We had some nice times with Sacha kicking around ideas but he went off and told untruths about what happened.
"Why would he go away and say that we didn't want to make a gritty film? Are we the kind of people who have ever ducked from the truth? I don't think so."
The 68-year-old rocker insisted Sacha - who is more known for his comedy work - "wasn't right" for the project and he and his bandmates are keen to get a "real actor" on board instead.
He added to Event magazine: "We decided he wasn't right for the role for very good reasons, which will become apparent if you watch what he's done recently.
"It's obvious that it wasn't going to work, him playing Freddie. It wouldn't suspend your disbelief. We're hoping Ben Whishaw will do it. He's fabulous - a real actor."
Sacha was attached to the project for six years before dropping out, and the 'We Will Rock You' hitmaker admitted the movie is still some time away from entering production.
He said "We'll have a director - although we still haven't signed one up - and then hopefully we can step back and just look after the music side of it.
"We have arrived at a great storyline. But the film's not going out until it's right."
As well as claiming he was unhappy with the narrative structure of the film, Sacha, 44, recently admitted he also felt frustrated behind the scenes of the project after the band - Brian, bassist John Deacon and drummer Roger Taylor - rejected a string of high-profile directors.
He said: "They asked me to write the movie, but I said, 'I don't know how to write a biopic'.
"So I got in Peter Morgan ('The Queen'), [but] they didn't like that.
"I brought in David Fincher who wanted to direct it, then Tom Hooper -- they were very specific about how they wanted to do it. But at the end of the day, it really was an artistic difference.
"Brian May is an amazing musician, but he's not a great movie producer."