Twentieth Century Fox made the decision due to Singer’s abrasive on-set behavior and a deteriorating relationship with several of the film’s cast members, including its principal star, Rami Malek. Singer is said to have been involved in a confrontation with Malek which allegedly saw him throw an object at the actor. As a result of the incident, Malek complained to the studio, charging Singer with “not being present on set, unreliability and unprofessionalism,” THR reports.
Additionally, Tom Hollander, who plays Queen manager Jim Beach, briefly quit the film because of Singer’s behavior, according to THR. He was eventually persuaded to return.
The final straw was when Singer failed to return to the film’s set after the Thanksgiving holiday. A representative for the director said he had taken a leave of absence due to “a personal health matter concerning Bryan and his family.” According to THR, Singer has claimed he is suffering from “post-traumatic stress disorder” resulting from the tensions on the set.
Cinematographer Thomas Newton Sigel briefly stepped in to direct the film in Singer’s absence. However, as of Friday, production was officially on hold. The studio intends to find a new director within the coming days to finish the final two weeks of principal photography, THR adds. A release date for the film was previously announced for December 25, 2018.
Singer’s exit is just the latest hiccup for a film that has been besieged with problems over the course of its multi-year development. Prior to Singer’s involvement, Sacha Baron Cohen was attached to write, direct, and star in the film. However, he later distanced himself from the project, citing serious clashes with Queen’s surviving band members, who reportedly wanted to film a PG-rated movie which avoided the darker aspects of Mercury’s life.