Bryan Singer Fired From ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’; Director Claims He Left to Care for Sick Parent
News broke late last Friday evening that Fox had halted production on Bohemian Rhapsody, curiously citing the “unexpected unavailability” of Bryan Singer. Although a representative for the director released a statement citing a “personal health matter,” many suspected that Singer’s absence and subsequent production interruption signaled the director’s imminent exit — whether by choice or by force. Those suspicions have been proven correct, as a new report reveals that Singer has been fired from Bohemian Rhapsody over repeated absences and unprofessional behavior that has led to altercations with the cast of the long-developing Queen biopic.
We’re sure to hear more in the coming days, but for now THR has the full report on Singer’s firing from the biopic, which stars Mr. Robot’s Rami Malek as late rock icon Freddie Mercury. Twentieth Century Fox has formally parted ways with the director following tensions between Singer and cast members, including Malek, which culminated in an altercation on set. Although the confrontation with Malek did not get physical, Singer was said to have thrown an “object.”
The studio says Singer was frequently absent from set, disappearing without notice for days at a time. Cinematographer Thomas Newton Sigel took over directing for some of the film’s shoot, but Singer’s absence ultimately resulted in a full production shut down on December 1. Tom Hollander, who stars as Queen manager Jim Beach, temporarily quit the film over Singer’s behavior.
Singer’s behavior led Malek to lodge a formal complaint with Fox, accusing the director of “not being present on set, unreliability and unprofessionalism.” Malek and Singer are said to have overcome their differences and production continued, but after Thanksgiving the director disappeared again and didn’t show up to set — though he’s apparently been in the U.S. for the past 10 days.
One source told THR that Singer claims he’s suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder “because of the tensions on set” — absurd, to say the least. But the most intriguing part of the report is that Fox Film CEO Stacey Snider and vice chairman and president of production Emma Watts are said to have “warned” Singer that unprofessional behavior would not be tolerated during production, going so far as to have a representative from the Directors Guild of America on set to monitor the director.
What “unprofessional behavior” would Singer need to be warned about? If his unreliability was known beforehand, why hire him at all? Perhaps even more suspiciously, Singer recently deleted his Twitter account just as several articles about his alleged sexual assaults were scrubbed from the internet. At the same time, in early November, reputable gossip rag Popbitch reported that Singer was “having fairly regular breakdowns and has been going MIA so frequently that production keeps getting shut down.”
Fox is expected to announce Singer’s replacement in the next few days, but with these new developments, we’re sure to learn more details behind Singer’s behavior imminently.
UPDATE: Singer provided a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, claiming his absence was the result of a sick parent and unspecified health issues of his own:
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.
Singer conceded that he had “creative differences” with star Rami Malek, but said they’d been put behind them and denied they had anything to do with his absence or his leaving the project.