Director Bryan Singer has hit back after being fired from the upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic, insisting studio Fox refused to let him take time off to care for his “gravely ill” parent.
After Singer’s departure from the film was announced on Monday (04Dec17), The Hollywood Reporter claimed the filmmaker was fired over alleged issues with Rami Malek, who is portraying Mercury in the biopic.
Malek and Singer were said to have clashed over the director’s absences and “unprofessionalism” on set and Fox Film chairman and CEO Stacey Snider and Fox Film vice chairman and president of production Emma Watts apparently warned Singer about the actor’s complaints.
However, Singer has hit back at the allegations in a statement to the outlet, insisting it wasn’t his being unprofessional that led to his exit, but the ill health of one of his parents.
“I wanted nothing more than to be able to finish this project and help honour 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 said in the statement.
“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.”
Singer also stated that while he and Malek did clash at points, this was not the main reason he was let go from the project.
“Rumors that my unexpected departure from the film was sparked by a dispute I had with Rami Malek are not true,” he added. “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.”
Filming on the project began earlier this year after a series of hold-ups. It is unclear if the movie is still expected to be released in December 2018, as scheduled, but a new director will be announced in the near future.