Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody might have been the surprise winner at the Golden Globes last night, but less of a surprise was the absence of the movie’s director Bryan Singer.
Singer did not attend the glittering event in Beverly Hills, and he was not mentioned in acceptance speeches by either Rami Malek, who played Freddie Mercury, or from producers Graham King and Jim Beach.
The film won Best Actor for Malek, and Best Motion Picture – Drama, but many viewers were quick to highlight Singer’s involvement, particularly in the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns.
Singer has been repeatedly accused of rape and sexual assault by a number of men, claims he has denounced as ‘false accusations and bogus lawsuits’.
The director of movies like The Usual Suspects and X-Men was fired from the movie just weeks from the end of its shoot over alleged absences from set.
His dismissal came a time when accusations of sexual assault in the movie business were at fever pitch.
He was also said to have clashed with the movie’s star Malek on a number of occasions, and was eventually replaced by British director Dexter Fletcher, though he retained his director’s credit thanks to Director’s Guild of America rules (Fletcher is listed as an executive producer).
Asked by reporters backstage about Singer’s absence from both the awards show and the speeches, those involved studiously ducked the questions.
Producer Graham King said: “That’s not something we should talk about tonight. Every single person collaborated and did [the film] out of passion [for] making this story. That was everybody.”
Malek added: “There was only one thing we needed to do, celebrate Freddie Mercury. He is a marvel. Nothing was going to compromise us. We’re giving him the love, celebration and adulation he deserves.”
But still, Singer’s involvement cast a painfully awkward shadow over the movie’s win.
After his departure, Singer released a statement, which read: “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 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.
“Rumours 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 honour 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.”
UPDATE: Singer has now responded to the win with a post on his Instagram page.