Bryan Singer has addressed his exit from directing the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, refuting claims that tension with the film’s lead star, Rami Malek, led to his firing.
On Monday, the film’s studio, 20th Century Fox, confirmed that Singer was no longer directing the movie, while The Hollywood Reporterclaimed conflict between the 52-year-old filmmaker and Malek had contributed to the decision.
In a new statement released to ET on Monday evening, Singer said such reports were “not true,” and explained why he was longer involved in the film.
“Bohemian Rhapsody is a passion project of mine,” Singer said. “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.
“Rumors that my unexpected departure from the film was sparked by a dispute I had with Rami Malek are not true,” Singer continued. “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.”
Filming on the biopic, which is scheduled to release on Christmas Day 2018, was halted on Friday after Singer did not show up to set. While the studio blamed his “unexpected unavailability,” Singer’s rep cited a “personal health matter” for his absence.
See more on the project below.