|Peter Morgan talks about Freddie Mercury film
The hot-shot screenwriter talks about working with surviving Queen members and Sacha Baron Cohen playing Mercury
The screenwriter Peter Morgan gave more details last night about his work on an upcoming film about Queen frontman Freddie Mercury – including how he's having to tread carefully with the band's three surviving members.
‘That's where my head is now,’ Morgan told an audience at Bafta during a talk as part of the Bafta and BFI Screenwriters’ Lecture Series. ‘I’m meeting rock Gods, and I love it.’
Morgan says that it’s been tricky dealing with Queen’s surviving members, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon. ‘Queen are sensitive because it will show rancour and disagreements in the collaborative process. In a way, the film, for me, reflects my own experience of filmmaking as a collaborative process. Just as a film is never the result of one person, so the band doesn’t like the idea of Queen being “A Band by Freddie Mercury” – and they’re right. It won't just be about Freddie Mercury.’
Morgan also stressed that although Baron Cohen is played the lead, no one should expect an out-and-out comedy. ‘They’ve hired me, so they’re not expecting gags. This is a drama.’
Asked whether he had read Tony Blair’s autobiography to compare notes with his scripts for ‘The Queen’ and ‘The Deal’, the 47-year-old writer said he was too busy reading and thinking about Mercury.
‘I will read it at some point – but at the moment my head’s full of books about Farrokh Bulsara’ – Mercury’s real name.
Morgan said that at first he didn’t think the film was a good idea when it was suggested to him. Baron Cohen is 38, so he didn’t feel he could write about Mercury’s younger years, and Mercury died in 1991 at 45, which didn’t leave him many years to investigate.
‘I didn’t want to write about a man dying from Aids. Luckily, when I looked into Mercury’s life, I found a good story in that window.’ Morgan didn’t specify, but other reports have suggested that the film will focus on the run-up to Queen’s performance at Live Aid at Wembley Stadium in 1985.
Author: Dave Calhoun
|This is very interesting. Thanks for posting it.
From what I have read, I guess the film will be about the period from the success of The Game album to the disappointment in sales of the Hot Space album, the quick remedial effort of The Works album, setback again due to the controversy over the Break Free video and the Sun City gig, and the achievement of success again due to the Live Aid performance. It looks good.
|That would be a good period to cover.
The early days of bands are roughly always the same story - get together, struggle in poverty sharing a bedsit, record demos, no-one wants to sign them, they get their big break etc..etc...
The story of a huge band at their absolute peak and how they dealt with that behind the scenes would be very interesting - although commercially they were at the height of their powers, it is well documented that from The Game (And maybe even Jazz) they were not as close behind the scenes and relations were strained when recording. To see them hit that wall. and then be rejuvinated by Live Aid is a good story, and should catch the general public attention as EVERYONE is aware of Live Aid (Whereas focussing on, say, the Crazy Tour or The Magic Tour would be good for fans but have no mass appeal).
|Its true about Queen being not just about Freddie, he even said himself in an interivew that he wasnt the leader of the group
Am feeling very uneasy about the outcome of the flm and whether they will portray the 4 members the right way or not and actually show the world how good Queens music really is
|I wonder what will be included on the Soundtrack to the film ? Probably another Greatest Hits rehash !!
|Absolute Greatest Soundtrack
|I wanna know who is gonna be cast as Bri, Rog and John that will be interesting!!!!!
|Apparently Freddie didn't die until 1994
|I think this movie wil either be disgusting or euphoric, for a Queen fan.
|But it needs the "meeting Groucho" scene :(
|God damn it. It is a really stupid idea to end the film with live aid. How can you make a biography about a person (or group of people) without leading up to the end (in this case Freddie's death). Sometimes you need a movie to be sad for it to be good. I really wish the film included Mercury's final years and the making of the innuendo album
|Interesting. Being one of the most privates band ever, I'd like to know if the three members really are willing to start telling it all in a hollywood movie. No hard feelings about Brian but the fact that he's so close to this project makes me believe this will be a very washed-up version of the real story.
It's good to read that John is somehow involved in all this. I wonder if they're all gathering together or the director is talking with each one individually.
|^ I would imagine he would talk to each member of the band individually, that way he could get each person's take on what Freddie meant to them, how they reacted to him and vice versa
|I don't like the sound of this at all.
Picking Sasha Baron Cohen to portray Freddie is sacrifice.
Sacrifice for what? For the infantile idea that his Borat character resembles Freddie due to his mustache.
He is not an established actor in terms of playing serous roles. It will be very hard to take him seriously after ali g, borat, bruno, and I don't want Freddie to be an experiment for the sake of Cohen proving himself as an actor.
Idea of depicting only the jolly good old days (live Aid e.t.c) is also wrong.
I know and respect the fact, that Freddie was very private with his illness, but I think it is reasonable to speak about it now.
This issue is still important and world is still affected by it. I don't understand how can a relevant story of the man who had a larger than life character, and power to connect with millions of people, can be disregarded and not used to get the message across.
So.....my demands are: lol
from 81 through 91
excellent article about this situation.
|I would love to have a scene where Freddie tells the other guys about Bo Rhap, and another where people hear it for the first time. Yes, it's been done many times before, but I love it. :D
|I have ever since the rumors started about "The Freddie Mercury saga" been very much a sceptic to it. After reading this, and come to think of it, Sacha Baron Cohen might be splendid in this role. He won't be Ali G, nor Borat or Bruno. He will play Freddie Mercury. And something tells me he's a great actor deep down..
I hope Brian and Roger is as much involved in this as they say they are..
|This is one movie I will never go and see. I've got Freddie and all on VHS and DVD - no substitutions for me!
|Excellent article. He touches on the fear I've had since the beginning of the rumours. That they are going to present a Freddie Mercury caricature which will be all about his flamboyance and gaiety, and nothing about his brilliance. When I think of who is playing Freddie, I see clearly the direction they are taking the film. Bummer. It could have been so much more interesting.
Shvili wrote: p.s
excellent article about this situation.
|[jamster1111 wrote: God damn it. It is a really stupid idea to end the film with live aid. How can you make a biography about a person (or group of people) without leading up to the end (in this case Freddie's death). Sometimes you need a movie to be sad for it to be good. I really wish the film included Mercury's final years and the making of the innuendo album]
I couldn't agree more.
Part of me feels like there are people behind this project that are in denial of THE BIG ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM. I don't care how big of a Queen fan you are, and how much you adore and respect Freddie. It's foolish to deny the fact that Freddie was extremely promiscuous and his lifestyle led him to become an AIDS victim. There's a sense from entitlement from people like Brian and Roger wishing to protect Freddie's reputation, but by now there are certain facts about Freddie's life that are just undeniable.
If anything, I think that focusing on Freddie's last years would actually bring a more positive image than a negative one. Freddie battle with his disease, and the fact that he was willing to work in the studio and give as much as he could until the very end is actually a very remarkable and inspirational story.
Of course, if there's an actual sequel to this film then things are completely different.
|I must say I think people are really underestimating Sacha B.C. He's going to be fine, as there is without question a skilled actor in there. It's all going to come down to the script really - the story they elect to tell - and to the vision of the director.
|All things aside, there is a true business mind behind this project.
Had they selected some unknown talent to portray Freddie, in large part, audience of this film would consist of existing Queen fan base. Obviously, there is no significant short, or long term commercial gain from this.
Even if they had selected J. Depp for example, potential gains would be insignificant compared to profits SBC can bring in.
SBC brings in demographic segment that is very desirable from the commercial point of view. ....teenagers and young adults. Many of these young people will become interested in Queen and is not that the ultimate goal?
As they say “hook them while they are young”
perfect example of this kind of target marketing is Mcdonald's with their toys, playgrounds and the clown, Ronald Mcdonald .
In some way, SBC is Queen's Ronald Mcdonald.
I bet movie will be rated G (all ages admitted) or PG ( parental guidance suggested) but nothing more.
Maybe that is why they are not including Freddie's last years of life?!... it would surely require some elaboration which would not be suitable for younger audiences.