When 20th Century Fox fired director Bryan Singer from the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody on Monday, December 4, they blamed it on his repeated failures to show up on the U.K. set. Now Singer, 52, is telling his side of the story.
“Bohemian Rhapsody is a passion project of mine,” Singer said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Monday. “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 beyond my control.”
Singer also denied claims that he clashed with star Rami Malek, who plays the late Freddie Mercury in the movie. “Rumors that my unexpected departure from the film was sparked by a dispute I had with Rami Malek are not true. 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,” he stated. “I wanted nothing more than to be able to finish this project and help honor the legacy of 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.”
Singer, who is best known for producing and directing the X-Men series, reportedly did not return to the set in London after Thanksgiving break, which led to a production shut down on Friday, December 1. Fox had no comment to Singer’s version of what happened.
Singer has recently been in the news in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal. He was previously accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old boy in 1999 (allegations he denied).
Bohemian Rhapsody is scheduled to hit theaters on December 26, 2018.