Rocker Brian May has broken his silence about Sacha Baron Cohen's exit from an upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic, revealing the surviving members of Queen feared the comedian's presence would distract fans from the flamboyant frontman's life story.
The Ali G star walked away from the project in July (13) after spending months perfecting his vocals for the role, amid rumours he had fallen out with May and Roger Taylor over his planned portrayal of their late friend and bandmate.
Cohen has yet to comment on his reasons for quitting the film, but May has now shed some light on the actor's departure, insisting he just wasn't right for the job.
May tells UltimateClassicRock.com, "In the end, we felt that his presence in the movie would be very distracting.
"What led us to that conclusion was the last three movies that he's made - The DICtator, Les Miserables and Hugo - in which he makes outstanding performances, but they're very much Sacha Baron Cohen performances. And we thought there has to be no distraction in the Freddie movie. You have to really suspend that disbelief - the man who plays Freddie, you have to really believe is Freddie. And we didn't think that could really happen with Sacha."
However, the guitar icon is adamant claims of a bitter rift between the Queen stars and Cohen are completely unfounded.
He adds, "It's a shame that there were these sensationalist stories about him walking out. None of that was true... We owe Sacha a lot. He had so much enthusiasm for the project and it really helped us kick it into the start position."
Reports suggest James Bond star Ben Whishaw has since been tapped as Cohen's replacement - Taylor hinted at the new casting in a Tv interview on Friday (18Oct13), stating that an actor with the initials 'Bw' had become the frontrunner for the role.