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Saturday, October 22, 2016

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – British comic actor Sacha Baron Cohen has pulled out of a long-planned film about flamboyant Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, his spokesman said Tuesday.

Industry journal cited his manager as saying the withdrawal was due to “creative differences” with producers over the movie’s tone.

“Sacha has pulled out,” the actor’s publicist Matthew Labov told AFP in an email, declining to give any other details.

The as-yet untitled film is being made by GK Films, in partnership with Hollywood A-lister Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal’s Tribeca Productions and Queen Films.

Baron Cohen — whose hit movie characters include bumbling Kazakh reporter Borat, gay Austrian fashionista Bruno and wannabe gangster Ali G — was confirmed as linked to the project nearly three years ago.

Peter Morgan — who scripted the films “Frost/Nixon” and “The Queen” — has written the screenplay for the film, planned to focus on the years leading up to Queen’s stellar performance at the 1985 Live Aid concert.

Mercury died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1991 at the age of 45.

Queen — Mercury, guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor and bassist John Deacon — is one of the world’s best-selling bands.

The British rockers’ hits include “Bohemian Rhapsody” (1975), “We Are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You” (1977), “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” (1979), “Another One Bites the Dust” (1980) and “These Are the Days of Our Lives” (1991).

Baron Cohen is working on a spy spoof for Hollywood studio Paramount, focused on a secret agent who goes on the run with his football hooligan brother, according to the BBC.

He has written and will also star in the film.

He is also working on a film called “The Lesbian,” about a billionaire who offers a large sum of money to a man who can woo and marry his lesbian daughter, according to the IMDb movie industry website. The project is based on a real story involving a Hong Kong shipping magnate Cecil Chao.

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