20th Century Fox has fired director Bryan Singer from the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Filming was suspended on December 1st, reportedly due to a “personal health matter concerning Singer and his family.” However, it’s now been reported that filming was suspended after Singer repeatedly failed to show up to the set. Producers of the film, Fox, New Regency and Graham King stated that they suspended Singer because of an “unexpected unavailability.”
Singer, however, has claimed that the studio refused to allow him the time he required to look after his “gravely ill parent” and his own personal health. Singer claimed to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because of the tensions on the set.
“I wanted nothing more than to be able to finish this project and help honor the legacy of Freddie Mercury and Queen,” Singer said in a statement, “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.”
Singer has also stated:
“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.”
Singer was warned before production began by Fox Film’s chairman and CEO Stacy Snider and vice chairman and president of production Emma Watts, that the producers would not tolerate any unprofessionalism by Singer.
Prior to filming being suspended, cinematographer Thomas Newton Sigel had to take over Singer’s job of helming the project, filling in for the director’s absence. Singer’s absence has caused issues between the director and actor Rami Malek, who is playing Freddie Mercury in the biopic. Malek complained to the studio regarding Singer’s unreliability and unprofessionalism. The tension between Singer and Malek reportedly culminated in a verbal argument, in which Singer threw an object. Filming was expected to resume, however, after the two settled their differences.
Singer made the following statement regarding the issue with 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.”
So-called ‘creative differences’ was reportedly the reason that actor Sacha Baron Cohen, who was expected to play Freddie Mercury before Malek was given the part, dropped out of the project early on.