Bryan Singer fired from Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody
The long-awaited biopic charting the life and career of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury has suffered another setback with the news that Fox has relieved director Bryan Singer of his duties, removing the director from the project with just a few weeks of filming remaining.
Just a few days ago it was announced that production on Bohemian Rhapsody had halted due to what Fox described as the “unexpected unavailability” of Bryan Singer, with a statement given to the BBC explaining that the director's absence from the set was due to “a personal health matter concerning Bryan and his family.” A representative for Singer added that the director “hopes to get back to work on the film soon after the holidays.”
However, it has now emerged that Fox have taken the drastic step of removing Singer from the project entirely, releasing a short statement that simply stated: “Bryan Singer is no longer the director of Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Singer's removal is understood to be the result of ongoing tensions on set between the director and the film's star, Rami Malek. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a confrontation between the pair on the set was the culmination of an increasingly tense production, during which Singer is accused of repeatedly turning up late to the set and, on at least one occasion, not turning up at all, leaving cinematographer Thomas Newton Sigel to direct that day's scenes.
Singer however has since released a statement saying that he had asked the studio for time off to care for an ill parent – a request which he says Fox refused: “Bohemian Rhapsody is a passion project of mine,” said the director. “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.”
Singer also addressed the rumours of a rift between him and Malek: “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.”
The film has endured a troubled production since it was first announced in 2008, having gone through a couple of writers, two directors and having already witnessed the departure of Sacha Baron Cohen, who had previously been attached to plat the role of Freddie Mercury. At this stage it is unclear if Fox will seek out a new director with such a short amount if time remaining on the shoot, or if they will place cinematographer Sigel in charge of the remaining weeks of shooting. At present the film remains slated to arrive in cinemas in December 2018.