Update, December 5: In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Monday night, director Bryan Singer said 20th Century Fox fired him from the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody after the studio didn’t grant him permission to take time off to deal with a health issue with his parents.
“Bohemian Rhapsody is a passion project of mine,” Singer said. “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.”
Singer’s production company, Bad Hat Harry, is also being removed from the studio’s premises, according to the Reporter. Bohemian Rhapsody was Singer’s final movie in a three-year, first-look deal with 20th Century Fox; he was granted an extension with the studio until filming on the movie was completed.
Earlier Monday, 20th Century Fox told the Reporter that Singer had been fired. Singer had been missing from the set since the production’s Thanksgiving break, and the film was temporarily suspended in his absence. The studio is expected to hire a new director in the coming days. The film had two weeks of principal photography remaining.
According to the Reporter, there were tensions between Singer and members of the production. Tom Hollander, who plays Queen manager Jim Beach, had temporarily quit the film before coming back, and Singer had confrontations with the film’s star, Rami Malek, who plays Freddie Mercury. Malek told the studio that Singer was unreliable and unprofessional on set. At one point, Singer reportedly threw an object at Malek. In his statement Monday night, however, Singer claimed that he and Malek had repaired the relationship.
“Rumors that my unexpected departure from the film was sparked by a dispute I had with Rami Malek are not true,” he said. “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.”
Singer’s absence had previously been attributed to a “personal health matter.” An insider told the Reporter that Singer said he was suffering from PTSD from the environment on set.
Earlier on Monday, The Washington Post reported that Singer’s longtime publicist, Simon Halls, no longer represented the director. Halls declined to comment further.
Since breaking out with 1995’s The Usual Suspects, Singer has directed several blockbuster superhero films, including Superman Returns and four films in the X-Men franchise. Bohemian Rhapsody is due out next Christmas.