Based on erroneous reports circulating in the British media, Circa has stated that “Sacha Baron Cohen will write, direct and star as Freddie Mercury in a coming biopic about the classic rock band, Queen.”
The March 28 Telegraph article from which the Circa story is partly sourced originally reported that "the long-awaited biopic of the former Queen singer Freddie Mercury is finally underway after an 'important breakthrough', according to the band's manager Jim Beach." The paper had noted that Sacha Baron Cohen would be rejoining the film project after resigning two years ago over "creative differences with Beach and Mercury's surviving bandmates, Brian May and Roger Taylor."
Like the Telegraph, the Circa story cites a portion of the speech made by Queen manager, Jim Beach at the Artist & Manager Awards in which he reportedly said, “You have probably followed the saga of the famous Queen-Freddie Mercury biopic … An important breakthrough is that we have now managed to persuade Sacha Baron Cohen to write, produce and direct this movie, and he has also agreed to star.”
The problem is that quote only tells half the story as Queen's Brian May explains on his website. May writes that Beach's announcement was really just "a small joke… in response to enquiries about the progress on the Freddie feature film, that Sacha Baron Cohen had been re-engaged to write, produce, and direct the film, as well as starring in all four major roles! [emphasis mine] I’m afraid some folks might have taken it seriously! "
He's not kidding.
[The Telegraph has since done some backpedaling and published a new article to clear up the mix up. Perhaps Circa can do them one better and for the record include a correction note on its original report.]
Circa has fixed its story which now reads:"Freddie Mercury biopic will not star Sacha Baron Cohen" and added a link to this Mediabugs report below the article.