Sacha Baron Cohen will play Freddie Mercury. But can he sing? Let's go to the video clips!
As we noted in the morning mix, Sacha Baron Cohen has been tapped to play Freddie Mercury in a biopic based on the Queen frontman who died of AIDS in 1991.
The shock-comic certainly bears a physical resemblance to Mercury, a fact that Entertainment Weekly also mentions. I also must note that Cohen's got the chest hair for the part as well.
But, as someone best known for wearing body thongs as Borat, dropping ridiculous hip-hop slang as Ali G. and prancing around with vaguely Justin Bieber-esque hair (long before Bieber did) as Bruno, can Cohen handle a dramatic role like this one? And is there any way he can sing the way the powerful Mercury did?
For an attempt at answers, let's go to the video clips!
Given his ability to bury himself in so many other personas, I think Cohen has the potential to play Mercury convincingly. Comedy is harder than drama, as they say, and he's certainly proven he has the chops in that department.
The vocal work is another story. It's entirely possible Cohen won't have to sing as Mercury -- he could lip synch to the "Bohemian Rhapsodizer's" work, or at least rely largely on his vocals as a guiding track. But for sake of argument, let's say the actor tries to tackle the rock icon's sound himself.
That's a significantly tall order. Mercury's pipes were so powerful they could fill a massive arena, as well as any additional arenas that happened to be within a 50-mile radius. But let's see what Cohen can do in a few clips.
Here he is in his most high-profile singing role, as Pirelli in "Sweeney Todd."
Here's Cohen as Borat, singing an intentionally weak Kazakhstan anthem at a baseball game.
And here he is, again in Borat mode, crooning "You Be My Wife" on an episode of "Late Night With Conan O'Brien." (For the record, that outfit totally looks like something Mercury might actually have worn circa 1978.)
And now, for comparison's sake, here's Mercury...
Performing "Killer Queen" circa 1974:
Crushing "Somebody to Love" at a 1982 concert in England:
And firing up the crowd at Live-Aid in 1985:
Cohen's talented, but can he pull that off? You tell me in the comments.
| September 17, 2010; 11:43 AM ET
Categories: Movies, Pop Culture
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