Update: Bryan Singer issued a statement in response to his firing from Bohemian Rhapsody.
20th Century Fox has officially fired Bryan Singer as the director of the studio’s upcoming Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Production on the movie, which features Mr. Robot star Rami Malek in the role of Queen’s lead singer Freddie Mercury, was halted this past week, after Singer failed to return to the Bohemian Rhapsody set following a break in filming for the Thanksgiving holiday. A representative for Singer eventually released a statement claiming that his absence was due to “a personal health matter,” but did not elaborate on the subject beyond that.
Shortly after the news of Singer’s unexpected absence on the Bohemian Rhapsody set was reported, it emerged that Singer had repeatedly clashed with Malek during production on the film. This wasn’t the first time that Singer vanished during the middle of principal photography on a major studio production (having previously done the same thing while filming the comic book blockbusters Superman Returns and X-Men: Apocalypse) and that partly accounts for why Fox has decided to go ahead and fire Singer from the project altogether.
Fox confirmed to THR that Singer has been fired as Bohemian Rhapsody‘s director, following his latest unexpected absence from the movie’s set. It’s now being reported that this isn’t the first time that Singer has failed to check-in to the Bohemian Rhapsody set either, having done it multiple times in the past and forced cinematographer Thomas Newton Sigel to step in and take the helm, in his absence. In addition to Malek having complained to Fox about Singer’s general “unreliability and unprofessionalism,” THR reports that Tom Hollander – who plays Queen manager Jim Beach in the film – even quit the production over Singer’s behavior, before he was eventually persuaded to return.
THR insiders are reporting that Singer was warned by Fox Film Chairman/CEO Stacey Snider and Fox Film Vice-Chairman/President of Production Emma Watts that any unprofessional behavior on his part (like what he has done in the past) would not be tolerated, prior to the start of principal photography on Bohemian Rhapsody. Fox executives even had a Directors Guild of America representative on the movie’s set to monitor the situation and keep Singer in line. Another THR insider is reporting that Singer had claimed that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, brought on by the tensions on the film’s set, prior to his final departure.
It has been heavily speculated that both Singer’s absence from the Bohemian Rhapsody set and his increasingly erratic behavior might be related to an impending report (or reports) that bring up fresh allegations of sexual assault and harassment against the filmmaker. Singer himself is no stranger to such allegations, the most widely publicized of which were raised back in 2014, prompting him to bow out of the press tour for X-Men: Days of Future Past at the time. In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and similar sexual misconduct/abuse scandals involving people like actor/comedian Louis C.K., Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter, and Singer’s own The Usual Suspects and Superman Returns star Kevin Spacey, many Hollywood insiders have seen Singer’s own impending sexual assault scandal as an inevitability.
Meanwhile, Bohemian Rhapsody has only two weeks left of principal photography and is expected to officially recruit a replacement director within the next few business days. There’s no word yet on whether Fox has any plans to push the film’s theatrical release date back – though seeing how far away it is at the moment (December 2018, to be exact), that seems unlikely, even in the wake of Singer being fired.
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