For as much anticipation as there is around the upcoming Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, there are inescapable questions about how much the film’s behind-the-scenes drama may have affected the final product. That drama, of course, was most notably the firing of director Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men). Singer was let go by Fox after he was reportedly a no-show on set and clashed with star Rami Malek, with two weeks left in principal photography. Singer was eventually replaced by Dexter Fletcher (Eddie the Eagle), an early candidate for the job, though Singer is still credited as the director on the film per DGA guidelines.
Malek (Mr. Robot), who headlines the film as Freddie Mercury, addressed Singer’s departure this week when he visited Yahoo Studios with co-stars Gwilym Lee (as Brian May), Joseph Mazzello (John Deacon), Lucy Boynton (Mary Austin), and producer Graham King. (Watch above.)
“At that point — we had all this time of rehearsal — we knew our characters so well, we knew exactly what the scenes were left to shoot, and we had just operated in a way that there was no question about how we were going to finish this. We all knew what we were doing, [we] had a handle on it,” he said.
Malek likened the filmmaker swap to his work on his Emmy-winning USA Network hit Mr. Robot: “From my perspective, I had been doing a television show where for the first season we’d go from director to director every episode. It’s just about understanding how to handle your character, knowing your character, and just a different vision for a little bit of time.”
The actor is clearly not sweating the outcome. “Having seen it now, it feels very fluid and cohesive.”
For King, the Oscar-winning producer of The Departed who with Bohemian Rhapsody oversaw a long start-and-stop production for a biopic that was once set to feature funnyman Sacha Baron Cohen in the lead, it was just one more bump in the road. “I look at it as if Freddie’s been throwing hurdles down at us for many years to get this right for perfection. And nothing was going to stop us from finishing this film.”
Bohemian Rhapsody opens Nov. 2. Watch the trailer:
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