LONDON – “Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen has been signed up to star in a movie about flamboyant rock star Freddie Mercury, producers said Friday.

Peter Morgan, who wrote “The Queen,” is working on a screenplay about the frontman of the band Queen, who died of AIDS in 1991.

The as-yet-untitled film will climax with Queen’s barnstorming appearance at the 1985 Live Aid concert in London.

The announcement was made by GK Films, which is producing with Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Productions and Queen Films.

Founded in 1971 by Mercury, guitarist Brian May, bassist John Deacon and drummer Roger Taylor, Queen scored hits with songs including “We Are the Champions,” “We Will Rock You” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

May told the BBC that the band supports the project.

He said the choice of Baron Cohen, creator of wannabe rapper Ali G, Kazakh journalist Borat and Austrian fashionista Bruno, “will probably be a shock to a lot of people, but he’s been talking with us for a long time.”

“He’s been in on this project since we started talking about it seriously with Peter Morgan a couple of years ago.” May said.


‘Idol’ a threat in disguise, scuffles with papparazzo

MIAMI – “American Idol” runner-up Adam Lambert is apparently more karate master than master of disguise.

The wailer, in town before his performance Sunday at Hard Rock Live, is accused of attacking a paparazzo Thursday outside a South Beach hotel after the photographer recognized Lambert despite his “disguise” of beach attire highlighted by a Panamanian hat – a significant departure from the singer’s typical black leather on-stage getup.

Photographer Victor Eras told police that he began taking Lambert’s picture outside the Raleigh Hotel at about 6 p.m. and Lambert rushed him. Eras said Lambert tried to grab a camera out of his bag and wrestled him to the ground. Lambert ran when he realized a crowd was gathering, according to an incident report.

Pictures of the alleged incident quickly cropped up on the Internet, showing what appears to be Lambert in turquoise shorts, a large floppy hat and a tank top grappling with a photographer.

Kid Rock, entourage to pay $40,000 after fight with man at Waffle House in 2007

DECATUR, Ga. – A jury awarded $40,000 Friday to a man who says musician Kid Rock and his entourage beat him and smashed his cell phones during a 2007 fight at a Waffle House restaurant.

Harlen Akins sued Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert James Ritchie, and five members of his entourage over the fight. The jury decided not to award punitive damages, but gave him $40,000 in compensatory damages.

The jury saw a lot of provocation from both sides and couldn’t attribute blame completely to either, said the foreman, who declined to give his name.

The damages will be divided among the four remaining defendants based on how much responsibility each was assigned. Kid Rock will pay 15 percent; his personal assistant James Murphy will pay 10 percent; his executive assistant Brian Lang will pay 5 percent; and his guitarist Jason Krause will pay 70 percent.

Krause was assessed more because he threw the first punch, the foreman said.