Fox has fired Bryan Singer as director of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” three days after his repeated absences from the set had forced the studio to halt production.
“Bryan Singer is no longer the director of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,'” the studio said Monday. Fox did not elaborate.
The studio terminated Singer under the “pay or play” provision of his contract, sources indicated, due to his repeated failures to show up on the set. A new director has not been named.
Filming has been taking place in London with “Mr. Robot” star Rami Malek in the lead role as Freddie Mercury, the front man for the group Queen. New Regency and GK Films are the production companies. The producers are Graham King, Singer, and Jim Beach, Queen’s longtime manager. Denis O’Sullivan, Arnon Milchan, and Jane Rosenthal are the executive producers.
Sources said Monday that as a result of Singer’s absences, the cinematographer Thomas Newton Sigel had to step in to direct on some of the days while Singer was missing. Sources said Malek had complained about what he perceived as Singer’s lack of professionalism.
Fox had given a similarly terse statement on Dec. 1 when it announced, “Twentieth Century Fox Film has temporarily halted production on Bohemian Rhapsody due to the unexpected unavailability of Bryan Singer.”
At that point, a representative for the director said that the halt was due to “a personal health matter concerning Bryan and his family. Bryan hopes to get back to work on the film soon after the holidays.”
A source also said that Tom Hollander, who plays Jim Beach, departed the film due to Singer’s behavior, but was persuaded to return. Another source said that about two weeks of shooting remain to complete the movie, which may result in the studio turning to a member of the current crew such as Sigel to complete the film rather than bringing in a new director from the outside.
Singer, who is 52, has directed films including “The Usual Suspects,” four X-Men movies including last year’s “X-Men: Apocalypse,” “Jack the Giant Slayer” and “Superman Returns.”
Ben Hardy is playing drummer Roger Taylor. Gwilym Lee (“The Hollow Crown”) is portraying lead guitarist Brian May and Joe Mazzello (“The Social Network”) is in the role of bass guitarist John Deacon. Lucy Boynton is playing Mary Austin, lifelong companion of Mercury.
Mercury wrote numerous hits for Queen, including “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Killer Queen,” “Somebody to Love,” “Don’t Stop Me Now,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” and “We Are the Champions.”
Mercury formed Queen with May and Taylor in 1970 and died of complications from HIV/AIDS in 1991 at the age of 45.
Justin Haythe wrote the “Bohemian Rhapsody” script. The film is slated for U.S. release on Dec. 25, 2018.