Bryan Singer was fired as the director of the upcoming biopic on the late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, according to a source close to 20th Century Fox, the studio behind the project.
The source said that Singer was terminated because he proved unreliable on set and that the studio expects to have a new director on board in a matter of days.
Fox confirmed for ABC News that Singer is no longer directing the film, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” but did not comment on the particulars of the situation. A representative for Singer did not respond to a request for comment.
Through his lawyer, he released a statement to Variety saying Fox refused to allow him time off to care for one of his parents.
“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,” the statement read. “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.”
The project is still slated for a December 2018 release.
On Friday, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the biopic, which stars actor Rami Malek as Mercury, halted production because of the “unexpected unavailability” of Singer. At the time, a representative for Singer told the BBC that his absence was due to “a personal health matter concerning Bryan and his family.”
The representative added in a statement at the time, “Bryan hopes to get back to work on the film soon after the holidays.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio’s decision to oust Singer came after a growing conflict between him and Malek, apparently over Singer’s frequent absences from the set.
Malek’s publicist did not respond to a request for comment.