After taking a leave of absence to deal with “health reasons,” Twentieth Century Fox has officially fired Bryan Singer from their seemingly doomed Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. It was announced late last week that production had come to a stop due to Singer’s “unavailability,” but other rumors suggested that the director and star Rami Malek were butting heads, leading to a less than ideal working situation. Bryan Singer reportedly just never came back from the Thanksgiving holiday, which led to speculation that there was something else going on behind the scenes.
Trouble reportedly began on the set of Bohemian Rhapsody when Bryan Singer was absent during production on several occasions. His no-shows resulted in cinematographer Thomas Newton Sigel having to step in to helm some of the days while Singer was missing. It has also been reported that Tom Hollander, who plays the band’s manager briefly quit due to Singer’s actions. In addition, Rami Malek, who is playing Queen front man Freddie Mercury, filed a complaint that declared that Brian Singer was unprofessional, unreliable, and absent from the set too much. This is definitely a huge setback for the Queen biopic, but it is certainly not the first.
Bryan Singer had reportedly been warned before the production even began that the studio would not tolerate any unprofessionalism of any kind by Fox Film chairman and CEO Stacey Snider and Fox vice chairman and president of production, Emma Watts. It has also been reported that a representative from the Directors Guild of America also arrived on the set to monitor what was going on. Things apparently reached a boiling point when Rami Malek and Singer got into a nonviolent confrontation that ended with the director throwing something. The two made amends, but apparently there was still some sore feelings.
Sacha Baron Cohen was attached to the project for years and was excited to tell Freddie Mercury’s story on the big screen, but after many setbacks, Cohen left. Cohen reportedly wanted to tell a gritty tale about the band, a truer to life story, but the band wasn’t interested in telling that side of the story. Sacha Baron Cohen, however, said he understood why the surviving members of Queen wanted a more PG-rated version of the movie that kept the band’s legacy squeaky clean. But the actor also admitted he should’ve known from his first meeting with the band that creative differences would arise. Apparently, the band intended to have Mercury die half way through the movie and then tell the story about how the band soldiered on. Ultimately, that idea thankfully changed, but nevertheless, Cohen still left the project.
Sacha Baron Cohen was attached to the project for nearly 4 years before bailing and Queen guitarist Brian May believed that it was for the best. May explained the split by saying that the band, “felt that (Cohen’s) presence in the movie would be very distracting… The man who plays Freddie, you have to really believe is Freddie. And we didn’t think that could really happen with Sacha.” And now the band and producers are scrambling to find a new director to finish up what has already been shot. It has been reported by source close to the situation that Brian Singer has “post-traumatic stress disorder” over the events that happened on the set of Bohemian Rhapsody, so it must’ve been pretty bad for the director. Whatever the case may be, you can read more about Bryan Singer getting fired from the Bohemian Rhapsody via The Hollywood Reporter.