In an unsurprising turn of events, Bryan Singer (“X-Men”) has been fired from 20th Century Fox‘s Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The studio released a statement finally proclaiming that Singer will no longer direct the project after clashes with star Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”) and numerous absences that shut down filming last week.
Troubles for the biopic began when Singer stopped showing up to direct during principal photography; cinematographer Thomas Newton Sigel (“Drive”) had to step up multiple times to fill his shoes. Tom Hollander (“Pirates of the Caribbean” series), who plays Queen’s manager, Jim Beach, quit halfway through filming due to Singer’s behavior, but was eventually persuaded to return to the project, according to Variety. Even Malek, who helms the film as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, complained to the studio about Singer’s absences and unprofessionalism over the course of filming. Tensions escalated between the two, with Variety reporting that Singer threw something at Malek during an argument. While rumors say the pair settled their differences for the good of the film, it looks like things still weren’t panning out.
Everything came to a head last week, when filming was set to resume after Thanksgiving. Singer did not return to the set after the holiday, forcing Sigel to step in (again) before production was finally shut down. 20th Century Fox fired Singer after the stunt, and will hire a new director to finish the last two weeks of shooting. For his part, Singer is now claiming to suffer from post-traumatic stress due to a hostile work environment on set. Singer was previously warned to keep things professional before he was hired, with a rep from the Directors Guild of America present on set to monitor him.
Starring Malek as Mercury, “Bohemian Rhapsody” follows the rise of the band Queen over fifteen years, capping off with their performance at Live Aid in 1985, six years before Mercury’s passing. Ben Hardy (“Only the Brave”), Gwilym Lee (“Jamestown”), Joseph Mazzello (“The Social Network”), and Allen Leech (“Downton Abbey”) will play the other members of the legendary group, with Aidan Gillen (“Game of Thrones”) and Hollander as band managers John Reid and Jim Beach, according to Billboard. Justin Haythe (“A Cure for Wellness”) and Anthony McCarten (“The Theory of Everything”) are penning the script, according to Billboard.
No word yet on if Singer’s firing will effect “Bohemian Rhapsody’s” release date of Dec. 25, 2018.