The highly-anticipated Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, starring Rami Malek (The Pacific, Mr. Robot), has just two weeks of principal photography remaining, but neither director Bryan Singer nor his Bad Hat Harry production company will bring it across the finish line.
As LRM (and everyone else on the internet) reported yesterday, Singer was fired from the project due to his erratic and unprofessional behavior. According to Deadline, now the entire Bad Hat Harry team has been booted off of the 20th Century Fox studio lot. Apparently, Singer had a first-look deal with Fox, which ended on Oct 31 (and was obviously not renewed). Absent a viable project, Fox sent them packing, effective immediately. Awkward.
Fox is seeking a replacement director to finish the shoot, conduct reshoots, and oversee postproduction (editing, effects, music). So, while there’s only a couple weeks of photography remaining, there’s still a mountain of work required to get Bohemian Rhapsody in the can.
Singer issued a statement to express his side of the fight:
“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.”
As was widely reported when this story initially broke, Singer has a long-standing habit of no-shows and conflicts with cast and crew. So, while Singer’s explanation seems reasonable on the surface, it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. He continues:
“This was not my decision and it was beyond my control. 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. 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.”
Ultimately, it’s tragic that Singer, a filmmaker with a deep and respected resume, would exit a high-profile project in such a manner. It’s also unfortunate for Malek, who’s built a career out of quirky, moody characters — Bohemian Rhapsody should be his big break, if it ever sees the light of day.
The project is now on hold until at least January while a director search ensues, and it’s fully expected that Bohemian Rhapsody will be completed and eventually hit theaters… but what should we expect from a film marked by controversy and multiple directors? Some films are strong enough to endure these problems, but it’s a dark footnote on the project that hopefully won’t harm its prospects upon release.
Do you plan to see Bohemian Rhapsody when it hits theaters, despite the controversy? Let us know in the comments down below!
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