20th Century Fox announced last night that filmmaker Bryan Singer had been fired from directing the in-production (and long, long-in-the-works) Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody after clashing with actors and not returning to set after Thanksgiving, but Singer has shot back with his own statement—and his own story. The X-Men: Apocalypse and Usual Suspects director released a statement yesterday shortly after being fired from Bohemian Rhapsody that reads as follows:
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. 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. 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 health of my loved ones, first.
When word first broke that Singer was missing from the Bohemian Rhapsody set, THR reported that this wasn’t a first-time occurrence. Singer reportedly also had similar “disappearances” from the sets of X-Men: Apocalypse and Superman Returns, and was given a warning before Bohemian Rhapsody filming began from Fox Film chairman and CEO Stacey Snider and Fox Film vice chairman and president of production Emma Watts that they “wouldn’t tolerate any unprofessional behavior on his part.”
Shortly after Singer’s firing yesterday, his production offices for his company Bad Hat Harry were shut down and moved off the 20th Century Fox lot. His overall deal with Fox had expired in October, but was given an extension to stay on the lot until Bohemian Rhapsody was complete.
Only a couple weeks of filming remain on the film and a new director announcement is expected shortly, but Variety cites sources saying that since only a little bit of filming remains, the studio might turn to someone from the current crew—like cinematographer Thomas Newton Sigel—to complete the film rather than bring in a new director. Sources told both Variety and THR that in Singer’s absence, Sigel—who’s been working with Singer since The Usual Suspects—had to step in and direct some days.