"We decided he wasn’t right for the role for very good reasons, which will become apparent if you watch what he’s done recently," - an apparent reference to his latest poorly received comedy film Grimsby.
"It’s obvious that it wasn’t going to work, him playing Freddie," he explained. "It wouldn’t suspend your disbelief. We’re hoping Ben Whishaw will do it. He’s fabulous - a real actor."
London Spy star Whishaw has been attached to the project since 2014 as a replacement for Baron Cohen.
Playwright Peter Morgan had been signed on to write the script, but once commented that he didn't think it would happen without Baron Cohen. It is assumed, however, that he is still involved. The only other comment May made on the subject was to say, "We have arrived at a great storyline. But the film’s not going out till it’s right."More stories Sacha Baron Cohen reveals the real reason he left Freddie Mercury biopic American Idol runner up doesn't agree with LGBT lifestyle