Despite being over a year away, one of next year’s most anticipated movies was quickly pegged to be already Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Being a biopic about the life of Queen frontman and musical legend, Freddie Mercury, has that effect in public interest. However, the movie’s Christmas Day release might become untenable since after 20th Century Fox halted production on the biopic last week, listing Bryan Singer’s “unavailability” as the vague reason, and now the studio has officially fired Singer from the film, as of Monday night.
Confirming days of rumor and innuendo surrounding the film, The Hollywood Reporter broke that Singer’s alleged unprofessional and chronic disappearances came to a head after Singer vanished from the set for a full 10 days after the Thanksgiving break concluded. Apparently this follows weeks of tension on the set between Singer and star Rami Malek, who plays Freddie Mercury in the film. According to the trade, after Singer missed multiple days previously from the production, leading to cinematographer Thomas Newton Sigel stepping in to direct several sequences, Malek complained to 20th Century Fox about Singer’s “unreliability” and “unprofessionalism.”
This is alleged to have led to a confrontation between Singer and Malek that resulted with the director throwing an object (but not at Malek). The two were said to have settled their differences, but Singer’s vanishing act for the past nearly two weeks was the final straw for Fox film chair and CEO Stacey Snider, who fired Singer on Monday. He is believed to still be in the U.S. while the film is stalled mid-shoot in the UK.
This is hardly too shocking given that the the movie studio dropped this terse statement late Friday about the X-Men director:
“Twentieth Century Fox Film has temporarily halted production on Bohemian Rhapsody due to the unexpected unavailability of Bryan Singer.”
This might appear to be a shocking turn of events given Singer’s good relationship with Fox where he previously shot the successful X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse back-to-back. However, rumors have long swirled he was inexplicably absent for at least several days on Apocalypse, which also was received far less warmly by critics and fans alike as Days of Future Past. However, a movie on Mercy was apparently a passion project for Singer, and certainly attracted strong talent.
The movie tracks the iconic rise of Freddie Mercury, one of the most beloved vocalists in recording history, as Queen rises to the zenith of the televised Live Aid event of 1985, which was the most watched concert in history. Rami Malek of Mr. Robot fame was cast as Freddie Mercury in the film and from one production still certainly passes for a dead ringer of the singer. The movie also features Gwilym Lee as Brian May, Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor, Lucy Boynton as Mary Austin, and Aidan Gillen as John Reid. Tom Hollander was also cast as Queen’s manager Jim Beach, and apparently attempted to quit Bohemian Rhapsody due to Singer’s behavior until the studio convinced him to return.
There is currently no word who would replace Singer to finish the film.
***This article has been updated from its original Dec. 1 post.