Bryan Singer, the director of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody has been fired by Twentieth Century Fox. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “The decision reflected an escalating clash between Singer and actor Rami Malek and was caused by the helmer being missing from the set, necessitating the December 1st production shutdown of the film in which Malek stars as Freddie Mercury. The pic has been shooting in London.” Malek had complained to the studio “charging Singer with not being present on set, unreliability and unprofessionalism.”
There was a reported non-physical confrontation between Singer and Malek, which included the director “throwing an object” — although the director and star were said to have come to terms and continued working. According to an unnamed source, on set tensions caused actor Tom Hollander, who portrays Queen manager Jim Beach, to quit the production before being persuaded to return to the film. According to another source, Singer “has claimed he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because of the tensions on the set.” Cinematographer Thomas Newton Sigel stepped in for Singer for the final shooting dates before the production was halted. A new director is expected to be named in the coming days with Deadline reporting that the final two weeks worth of filming will likely begin after the New Year.
Last night (December 4th), Bryan Singer issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, which reads in part:
I wanted nothing more than to be able to finish this project and help honor the legacy of Freddie Mercury and Queen, but Fox would not permit me to do so because I needed to temporarily put my health, and the health of my loved ones, first. Bohemian Rhapsody is a passion project of mine. With fewer than three weeks to shoot remaining, I asked Fox for some time off so I could return to the U.S. to deal with pressing health matters concerning one of my parents. This was a very taxing experience, which ultimately took a serious toll on my own health. Unfortunately, the studio was unwilling to accommodate me and terminated my services. This was not my decision and it was beyond my control.
Rumors that my unexpected departure from the film was sparked by a dispute I had with Rami Malek are not true. While, at times, we did have creative differences on set, Rami and I successfully put those differences behind us and continued to work on the film together until just prior to Thanksgiving.”
Queen’s Roger Taylor told us that his greatest pride is that all these years later, the band and Freddie Mercury still resonates with Queen’s die-hard fan base — along with millions of new fans every year: “He’s bigger now than he ever was. It’s absolutely true, and that makes me sort of proud. And I think that is one of the reasons why. . . I think you come to a realization that it’s really, that is what you are — it’s what you’ve done — but that defines what you are, and be content with that, and make it good. And I’m very proud of the fact that, y’know, our music is still on the radio and that Freddie is still a part of popular culture and I feel that I’ve done something, then.” in Leeds, England.