As one of the most troubled productions in recent memory, Fox's Bryan Singer-helmed Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, has had some trouble getting off the ground. First Sacha Baron Cohen was set to play Queen's flamboyant late frontman, Freddie Mercury, but the relationship between him and the remaining members of the band fell apart when they wanted different things for the film. It all seemed to turn around when Mr. Robot's Rami Malek was cast in his place; the first image of him as Mercury was awesomely accurate.
Unfortunately it's all come to a crashing halt again. THR is reporting that director Bryan Singer has been fired from the project and production stopped, and y'all, the details on this are wild. On the scale of directors leaving productions mid-shoot, it's less "Zack Snyder understandably stepping away from Justice League after the death of his daughter" and more "Josh Trank having a total meltdown while shooting Fantastic Four."
The tension on set was reportedly growing between Malek and Singer due to Singer just...not showing up. For days at a time. On the set of the movie that he himself is directing. Cinematographer Thomas Newton Sigel repeatedly had to step in to film on the days that Singer was a no-show. Singer's unprofessionalism and lack of reliability apparently got so bad that Malek complained to the studio, and Tom Hollander (playing Queen manager Jim Beach) briefly quit the film, though was later convinced to return. One confrontation between Singer and Malek got so heated that the director reportedly threw something on set.
Singer appeared to have completely checked out when, after the Thanksgiving break, he just didn't return to set. When Sigel had to step in again, the studio decided to terminate Singer (who has a pay-or-play contract) and shut production down until they sorted the mess left by their wayward director.
What's telling is that Singer was warned before production even began by Fox Film chairman and CEO Stacey Snider and Fox Film vice chairman and president of production Emma Watts that he was working under a microscope. This isn't 20th Century Fox's first rodeo with the director; he was informed in advance that unprofessional behavior on his part would not be tolerated. A representative from DGA was even dispatched to monitor the situation on set. Among other things, we can speculate that that "unprofessional behavior" includes the unsavory allegations that have followed Singer for years. Considering the current zero tolerance climate in Hollywood, it's no wonder that Fox cut ties with him as soon as they could.
According to another source, Singer claims that his absence was due to him suffering post-traumatic stress disorder from the tense situation on set.
In the meantime, it's expected that Fox will announce a replacement for Singer within the next few days with two more weeks of principal photography are left on the film. At the moment, it's not expected to affect next year's Christmas release date.
Bohemian Rhapsody is set to hit theaters on December 25, 2018.