Bryan Singer has struck back against charges he was terminated for being unprofessional on the set of Bohemian Rhapsody, the Queen biopic he was directing for Fox and New Regency. Instead, the filmmaker says he was terminated because Fox would not let him deal with the grave illness of one of his parents.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Singer said, “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.”
Fox on Monday terminated Singer after a series of confrontations with Rami Malek, who is playing Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. The director also was accused of acting unprofessionally in taking prolonged absences from the set. When production has halted Dec. 1, the studio cited the “unexpected unavailability” of the filmmaker.
Said Singer in the statement: “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.”
Singer claims that he and Malek had patched up their differences after clashing.
“Rumors that my unexpected departure from the film was sparked by a dispute I had with Rami Malek are not true,” said the director. “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.”
This article originally appeared in THR.com.