Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury
Bryan Singer, the director of the long anticipated movie about iconic rock band Queen and singer Freddie Mercury, has left the production midway amid a flurry of rumours.
It was earlier reported that filming had been suspended because Singer had to deal with a personal issue, but it’s now been confirmed that he has been dumped, with just weeks left in the shoot.
“Bryan Singer is no longer the director of Bohemian Rhapsody” due to his “unexpected unavailability,” said Twentieth Century Fox in a statement.
There have been claims that the openly gay director had a number of on-set clashes with star Rami Malek, who plays Freddie Mercury in the film.
There have also been tabloid reports that Singer, 52, was often late or failed to arrive on set after alleged late night “benders”.
Singer, however, has denied that he behaved unprofessionally and said he’d requested time off to manage “pressing health matters concerning one of my parents,” which the studio apparently refused.
“I wanted nothing more than to be able to finish this project and help honour 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,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement.
Singer added: “Rumours 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.”
Bryan Singer (Pic: Dick Thomas Johnson)
Singer, best known for directing some of the hit X-Men movies and the Oscar-winning The Usual Suspects, is one of the most high profile LGBT filmmakers in Hollywood. He was announced as the director of Bohemian Rhapsody in July to much fanfare.
There were fears at the time that the film might sanitise the more controversial and wilder aspects of Mercury’s life, and not be the warts and all biopic many are hoping for.
The latest controversy is not the first Singer has faced. In 2014, he was forced to drop out of the publicity campaign for X-Men: Days of Future Past to deal with allegations that he’d sexually abused a 17-year-old actor in the 1990s. Singer vehemently denied the claims and his accuser ended up dropping the lawsuit against him.
Twentieth Century Fox has yet to announce a replacement director for Bohemian Rhapsody.