Bryan Singer has been fired from Bohemian Rhapsody the currently in production biopic about the life Freddie Mercury, the flamboyant frontman of the 1970s rock icon Queen.
Twentieth Century Fox confirmed the firing to the Hollywood Reporter. This follows several weeks of tension on the set that led to production being suspended on Friday over Singer’s “unexpected unavailability.”
The picture that the Reporter paints of the production’s troubled shoot is not a pretty one. The key issue seems to be what is described as an “escalating clash” between Singer and Rami Malek, who is playing Mercury. The tension grew out of several absences on the part of Snyder from the set. These absences led to cinematographer Thomas Newton Sigel stepping up and directing on several days, presumably to keep the production from falling behind any further. Singer’s erratic behavior also led Tom Hollander, who plays Queen manager Jim Beach, to briefly quit the film.
Malek reportedly complained to the studio and at one point a representative from the Directors Guild of America flew to London where the production was filming to monitor the situation. Although the tension between Singer and Malek never got physical, Singer reportedly did throw “an object” in frustration at one point. The two had reportedly settled their differences, but following a break for Thanksgiving last week, Snyder did not return to the set and there was no word from him. Although Sigel directed several more days, the studio shut things down last Friday.
One part of the Reporter’s story stands out –
Singer had been warned before production began by both 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. A representative from the Directors Guild of America also arrived on set to monitor the situation.
Singer has been directing for over two decades and while tensions can sometimes rise on set, I can’t think of any recurring reports of unprofessionalism on his part. It is certainly unlikely that Snider and Watts would offer this warning apropos of nothing. What triggered them to advise Singer that he needed to behave himself?
The Reporter states that there is just two weeks left of production and that Fox hopes to announce a new director in a couple of days. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sigel is asked to take over officially. It seems to me to be the easiest way to ensure continuity with what has been shot before.