Freddie Mercury biopic hires Bryan Singer replacement

Justin Harp

From Digital Spy

UPDATE: 20th Century Fox has announced that Dexter Fletcher will replace Bryan Singer as the director of Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.

51-year-old Fletcher is an accomplished actor from Press Gang, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Hotel Babylon, and has also directed the British musical Sunshine on Leith and the sports biopic Eddie the Eagle.

Photo credit: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

ORIGINAL: The troubled Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody is facing yet more production woes with the departure of director Bryan Singer.

Work on the Queen-produced movie was temporarily shut down last week when Singer failed to return from the Thanksgiving break. The filmmaker's camp would only say that he was experiencing a "personal health matter".

His representatives also said at the time that Singer was hoping to resume work on Bohemian Rhapsody "soon after the holidays", but production company 20th Century Fox now says that will not be the case.

A studio spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter: "Bryan Singer is no longer the director of Bohemian Rhapsody."

Photo credit: VCG / Getty Images

Singer added in a statement to the publication: "Bohemian Rhapsody is a passion project of mine. With fewer than three weeks to shoot remaining, I asked Fox for some time off so I could return to the US 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.

"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."

Photo credit: Getty Images

However, THR alleges that production was rocky from the start because of Singer's on-set personality clashes with Malek.

According to the trade publication, Bohemian Rhapsody was just two weeks away from finishing production when Bryan Singer was let go. A new director is expected to be named in the coming days.

The upcoming biopic re-tells the incredible life story of legendary Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, played in the biopic by Primetime Emmy Award-winning Mr Robot star Rami Malek in his breakthrough role as a film lead.

Bohemian Rhapsody has been in various stages of development for nearly eight years. Sacha Baron Cohen was originally attached to play Mercury, but quit the project after creative conflicts with Queen band members and Bohemian Rhapsody producers Brian May and Roger Taylor.

Bohemian Rhapsody found new life earlier this year when Bryan Singer chose to step away from Fox's X-Men franchise to come aboard the music drama as director. He subsequently hired Rami Malek, Ben Hardy, Gwilym Lee and Joseph Mazzello to play the members of Queen.

Bohemian Rhapsody is currently slotted to reach US cinemas on Christmas Day, 2018.

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