The director of the Queen/Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody is slapping back at Fox Pictures and New Regency Films for firing him from the project on Monday (December 4).
In a statement, Bryan Singer — best known for his X-Men movies — says that, “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 help of my loved ones, first. ‘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.”
Production had been halted on the film after Singer did not return following a Thanksgiving holiday break. Fox said the director was being fired after numerous confrontations with actor Rami Malek, who’s playing Mercury, as well as unprofessional conduct on the set.
Singer, however, says in his statement that, “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.”
No replacement has been announced yet for Singer. Bohemian Rhapsody is slated for a Christmas Day release in 2018.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.