Sacha Baron Cohen has reportedly pulled out of playing Freddie Mercury in a film about the Queen frontman due to creative differences with the existing band members, Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor.

Cohen – who found fame with his Ali G character before going global with Borat – wanted to depict Mercury in a more scandalous, adult light, while May and Taylor were more interested in a family friendly picture. And given that the pair are on-board as musical consultants - with script and director approval over the biopic – it was Cohen who had to walk.

“That film had Cohen circling the role,” say Deadline, who first reported the news, “but I’ve just learned he’s now pulled out. The reason is that the band wanted to make more of a PG movie about Queen while Cohen was counting on a gritty R-rated tell-all centered around the gifted gay singer. Given the astonishing physical resemblance, it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing Freddie but Sacha.”

The role was set to buck a trend that Cohen himself had exacerbated. Famed for outrageous, eye-opening and offensive roles, his comedy was always understood by those with a wide eye on the political spectrum, and enjoyed on a visceral level by consumers. As Mercury, though, he would be telling the story of one of music’s most tragic death’s, a prominent icon for gay rights and, above all, a brilliant musician. It’s a shame we won’t get to see that, now.

Sacha Baron CohenIt's a no-go for Cohen