20th Century Fox confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter, releasing a simple statement to the trade that read: "Bryan Singer is no longer the director of 'Bohemian Rhapsody.'" The studio declined to provide any additional details.
The move comes just days after production on the flick, which stars Rami Malek as flamboyant frontman Freddie Mercury, was shut down due to Singer's sudden "unexpected availability." But sources previously told THR that the director has had some major run-ins with Malek and others on set, and either showed up late or failed to show up entirely several times previously, causing other crew members to step in and direct scenes for him.
Tensions between Malek and Singer reportedly got so heated that during one on-set argument between the pair, Singer allegedly threw something (though not at the actor). Another cast member reportedly briefly quit the film over Singer's behavior, before being persuaded to rejoin the feature.
Fox was finally forced to shut down production after Singer allegedly did not return to the film's London set after the Thanksgiving break, leading to his firing.
Singer released his own statement about the matter to THR, telling the trade that Fox was unwilling to let him return to the U.S. to care for an ailing parent. He also said that rumors about his rocky relationship with Malek were blown out of proportion.
Here's the director's full statement:
"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.
"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.
"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."
As Singer said, there were only a few weeks left on the production schedule, and now, Fox is faced with a similar situation to Disney when it abruptly fired "Han Solo: A Star Wars Story" directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller earlier this year. With "Bohemian Rhapsody" nearly completed, a new director is needed to either finish Singer's job or start from scratch.
It's unclear what avenue Fox will choose, but THR says the studio is planning on naming a replacement within a few days. "Bohemian Rhapsody" is currently slated for release on December 25, 2018. We'll see if that changes.
[via: The Hollywood Reporter]