This is a situation that may require more than a band-aid. After various problems reported from the set of Bohemian Rhapsody, the biopic of Freddie Mercury, the film appears to be have been delayed into 2018. Though a significant amount of the film has already been shot under the eye of Bryan Singer (X-Men, Superman Returns etc), news came in the last week that the lensing of the film had been put on hold over unspecified health problems related to Singer.
It appears there was more to it than that and after Twentieth Century Fox had previously said the hiatus was because of an ‘unexpected unavailability” and Singer’s reps had said it was due to a health issue in his family, the latest statements are more direct: Singer has been fired from the film which is being made in London.
This comes after the director apparently failed to turn up for shooting on the set after Thanksgiving and it follows further rumours of serious clashes with star Rami Malek who is essaying Freddie Mercury in the film. Malek is said to have complained to the studio about erratic behaviour and absences by the director who has also attracted controversy for his alleged behaviour on and off set.
The Hollywood Reporter, which confirmed Singer’s official departure from the film, also noted that there had also been frustrations from others over other absences from Singer . Co-star Tom Hollander is rumoured to have briefly leaving the film before being persuaded to return. Singer is believed to already be back in the US.
Singer finally issued a statement late Monday which read:
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.
He further expanded his reasoning in a statement to industry paper Variety:
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.”
In a follow-up, it seems Bad Hat Harry, Singer’s production company which has been on Fox‘s lot for many years (Singer’s three-year ‘first look’ deal with the studio ended Oct. 31 and was not renewed) is in the process of emptying its offices there.
As of late Wednesday, actor-turned-director Dexter Fletcher was officially named as the replacement director who will step in to finish filming and assess if more time is needed on previously shot material.