“Bryan Singer is no longer the director of Bohemian Rhapsody.”
That was the tersely worded statement from 20th Century Fox tonight as they announced the departure of Singer from his Queen biopic, which had seen its production halted over the director’s sudden absence. The news of Singer’s mysterious disappearance broke over the weekend and it hasn’t looked good from the start. Singer never returned to the set following Thanksgiving break, citing an illness that had afflicted him and his family.
It might have been fine, except for Singer’s history of absences which in some cases has forced the film’s cinematographer to stand-in as director. This unreliability, predictably, pissed off star Rami Malek who confronted Singer, leading to an argument that reportedly saw the director hurl an object at him. They are said to have mended fences on that one, but surely an incident like that was run up the flagpole to Fox execs, who had warned Singer they wouldn’t tolerate any “unprofessional behavior” on his part. Also, co-star Tom Hollander temporarily quit the project due to Singer’s unprofessional conduct.
Singer denies all of this, saying in a 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.”
That just doesn’t seem to track, though, does it? Singer and Fox have a long and lucrative history together, stretching back to X-Men in 2000. They wouldn’t give him a couple of weeks off if they truly felt it was due to a health issue? But Singer also has a history of flaking out during production, as he did recently with X-Men: Apocalypse and before that on Superman Returns. As I said in the earlier post, it doesn’t make sense that he keeps getting such high-profile gigs if he has such a reputation.
Singer’s denials just don’t sound credible, and claiming he’s “suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because of the tensions on the set” just sounds, well, pretty damned weak.
So a new director will be found to get Bohemian Rhapsody rolling again. Ron Howard, your phone is ringing. [THR]