Sacha Baron Cohen has revealed why he quit on a high-profile role as Freddie Mercury. The surviving members of Queen wanted half of the film to focus on themselves, as opposed to Mercury.

Baron Cohen revealed to Howard Sten that he hoped to present a view of Mercury’s lifestyle, but the living members of Queen were more interested in giving a perspective on the entirety of the band, and how they carried on without him.

Baron Cohen told Stern, “A member of the band – I won’t say who – said: ‘You know, this is such a great movie because it’s got such an amazing thing that happens in the middle.’ And I go: ‘What happens in the middle of the movie?’ He goes: ‘You know, Freddie dies.’ … I go: ‘What happens in the second half of the movie?’ He goes: ‘We see how the band carries on from strength to strength.'”

Baron Cohen said he told the band member that nobody would want to see the movie (or enjoy it) if the lead character dies halfway through the film. He reiterated that, “They wanted to protect their legacy as a band.”

Roger Taylor, the drummer for the band said via NME that Baron Cohen was let go because, “[The band] felt Sacha probably wasn’t right in the end. We didn’t want it to be a joke.” Baron Cohen left the film in the summer of 2013 because of his differences with the band.

The biopic is now being reassessed, and will move forward with a new script from The Theory of Everything’s Anthony McCarten, with Ben Whishaw taking the role of Freddie Mercury, according to Deadline.

[Photo: Getty Images]

About Harry Lyles Jr.

Harry Lyles Jr. is an Atlanta-based writer, and a Georgia State University graduate.