by Graham Pierrepoint
It’s a production that has seen considerable changes come its way over the past few years – remember when Sacha Baron Cohen was in line to play Freddie Mercury? – but the drama behind the scenes on Bohemian Rhapsody, a biopic centered around the late singer’s life and his time with legendary rockers Queen, seems to still be ongoing. It’s emerged early this week that the movie’s director – which now has Mr Robot star Rami Malek in the lead role – has been removed from production, and it’s something he is vehemently contesting if his interviews with the press are anything to be appreciated.
Bryan Singer has reportedly been removed from the project amid his pay-or-play contract for reasons that appear to have arisen due to conflicts with personnel on set, though Singer has advised otherwise. “With fewer than three weeks to shoot remaining, I asked Fox for some time off so I could return to the US to deal with pressing health matters,” advised the director via The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”
▶ 20th Century Fox Fires Bryan Singer From Directing 'Bohemian Rhapsody'
The decision to terminate Singer from the project appears to have come after the director failed to attend to the set in recent weeks – and after apparent clashes with both Malek and Tom Hollander during production. Hollander reportedly left the movie altogether and came back – though it seems the studio may have cut ties with the director as a result of issues on-set. Addressing allegations regarding his relationship with Malek, Singer spoke out further. “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.”
The main question now is – of course – who will replace Singer? With the studio still eyeing a release for the 2018 holiday season, time is ticking on a project that has seen a number of developmental twists over the years. Queen fans, hang in there – you’ll get your slice of cinematic Freddie sooner or later!