Fox has halted production on the long-developed Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody due to the “unexpected unavailability” of director-producer Bryan Singer. The film stars Mr. Robot breakout Rami Malek as the legendary rock frontman Freddie Mercury and is said to cover the year leading up to Queen’s iconic appearance at Live Aid in 1985.
“Twentieth Century Fox Film has temporarily halted production on Bohemian Rhapsody due to the unexpected unavailability of Bryan Singer,” the studio said in a statement. A representative for the filmmaker told the BBC the pause is due to “a personal health matter concerning Bryan and his family.,” and that “Bryan hopes to get back to work on the film soon after the holidays.” Production had been underway in London.
However, THR reports that word is Singer failed to return to set after the Thanksgiving break, ” leaving producers nervous about the state of the production and talking about potentially replacing him.” The report also notes that this is not Singer’s first time skipping out on a production temporarily — he briefly disappeared during the filming of X-Men: Apocalypse and Superman Returns as well.
The film has been in development for years until Singer was finally able to get approval from the surviving members of Queen. Sacha Baron Cohen was attached to play Mercury for quite a while before he dropped off and Malek took on the role.
Bohemian Rhapsody also stars Ben Hardy (aka Angel from X-Men: Apocalypse) as Roger Taylor, Gwilym Lee (The Hollow Crown) as Brian May, and Joseph Mazzello (The Social Network) as John Deacon, with Game of Thrones alum Aidan Gillen playing their manager John Reid. Lucy Boynton (Sing Street) plays Mary Austin, Mercury’s lifelong companion.
The film is still set to his theaters on Dec. 25, 2018.