Despite what you might have heard about director Bryan Singer, director Bryan Singer now says he was not let go from the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody because of those reported arguments with Rami Malek, who stars in the upcoming movie as the band’s famous frontman Freddie Mercury. Instead, Singer claims in a statement, 20th Century Fox let him go for taking time off to care for an ill parent. “Bohemian Rhapsody is a passion project of mine,” Singer said in a statement published in The Hollywood Reporter Monday night. “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.”
Accusations of on-set discord emerged simultaneously alongside news of Singer’s termination on Monday, including claims that the film’s star had feuded with the director over the latter’s “unreliability and unprofessionalism,” and that actor Tom Hollander had even briefly quit for a period of time. “Rumors that my unexpected departure from the film was sparked by a dispute I had with Rami Malek are not true,” Singer says now. “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.” Last week production was halted due to, as Fox put it in a statement at the time, the “unexpected unavailability” of the director after the cast and crew returned from their Thanksgiving holiday break.