Director Bryan Singer has reportedly been asked to part ways with the upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
The hotly-anticipated movie about the life of the iconic Queen frontman was put on hold earlier this week after Singer failed to return to the set after Thanksgiving due to a “personal health matter concerning Bryan and his family”. Now, 20th Century Fox have confirmed that he is no longer directing the film.
The Hollywood Reporter claims that ‘Mr Robot’ star Rami Malek, who plays the lead as Mercury in the movie, complained to the studio about Singer’s ‘unprofessionalism’ – with the pair reportedly involved in a number of altercations. Now, Singer has issued a statement regarding his departure.
“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,” Singer wrote.
“’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.”
Denying any clashes with Malek and the cast, he added: “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.”
Sacha Baron Cohen had been set to write, direct and star as Mercury since the film was announced in September 2010 but in the summer of 2013 he pulled out of the project, reportedly because he and Queen, who have script and director approval, were unable to agree on the type of movie they wanted to make.
Baron Cohen added that Brian May is an “amazing musician” but “not a great movie producer.”
Last month, Singer shared a photo on his Instagram of Malek playing the late Queen frontman, captioning it: “Couldn’t help myself and had to post this iPhone pic.”
The full cast of the film was revealed shortly after, with ‘X-Men Apocalypse”s Ben Hardy playing drummer Roger Taylor, ‘The Tourist”s Gwilym Lee portraying Brian May and ‘Jurassic Park”s Joe Mazzello taking the role of bass guitarist John Deacon.
The studio are yet to respond to Singer’s latest claims, but are reportedly looking to find a new director in the coming days. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is currently slated for a release date of December 25, 2018.