Graham King, Tribeca Productions and Queen Films have cast Sacha Baron Cohen as Freddie Mercury in an untitled film about the late Queen frontman’s life.
It is understood Peter Morgan’s screenplay will focus on the years leading up to Queen’s legendary appearance at the Wembley Stadium portion of the 1985 Live Aid concert. The screenplay does not cover Mercury’s death from complications arising from AIDS in 1991.
Production is set to begin in 2011 and King and Tim Headington are producing with Tribeca Productions’ Jane Rosenthal and Queen manager Jim Beach on behalf of Queen Films.
Queen Films Ltd is part of the Queen group of companies that includes Queen Productions Ltd, owner of the band’s master recordings. Queen Music Ltd controls the music publishing of the band and the film will feature original music from Queen and Mercury’s solo career.
The band – Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon – will be in charge of the musical content and will produce the soundtrack recording.
“Queen is one of the greatest rock bands of all time, and a music brand all unto itself,” King said. “Freddie Mercury was an awe-inspiring performer, so with Sacha in the starring role coupled with Peter’s screenplay and the support of Queen, we have the perfect combination to tell the real story behind their success.”
Tribeca Productions’ Robert De Niro and Rosenthal are also co-producers of the theatrical musical We Will Rock You, based on the music of Queen.
Baron Cohen is currently starring in GK Films’ Hugo Cabret directed by Martin Scorsese. GK Films’ heist drama The Town premiered in Toronto recently and opens wide in North America and France through Warner Bros on Friday .