Following the awards season success of Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, its star Rami Malek remained hesitant to address his own experience working with Bryan Singer on the film. The director was fired by Fox in the middle of the production and, in a separate incident, multiple allegations of sexual misconduct (which Singer denies) were published against him in The Atlantic. However, Malek spoke up about the matter, if ever so slightly, at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, saying his experience with Singer “was not pleasant.”
During a moderated discussion with The Hollywood Reporter, Malek said of the Singer allegations, “I’ve sat here and talked about how everyone deserves a voice and anyone who wants to talk about what happened with Bryan deserves to have their voice heard. In my situation with Bryan, it was not pleasant, not at all. And that’s about what I can say about it at this point.”
According to the trade, the actor added, “For anyone who is seeking any solace in all of this, Bryan Singer was fired. Bryan Singer was fired, I don’t think that was something anyone saw coming but I think that had to happen and it did.”
More than halfway into production, Fox fired Singer from his directing duties on Bohemian Rhapsody, though not for sexual misconduct. In a statement at the time, the studio said Singer was “unexpectedly unavailable” and production was temporarily halted. According to THR, Malek reportedly complained to the studio about Singer’s unprofessionalism.
Singer released his own account of events to say the “rumors that my unexpected departure from the film was sparked by a dispute I had with Rami Malek are not true.” He wrote, “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.” The director claimed Fox wouldn’t let him take time off for a “pressing health matter,” which resulted in his departure from the production.
Dexter Fletcher was brought on to help finish Bohemian Rhapsody, but Singer retains directing credit.
Reps for both Malek and Singer did not immediately respond to EW’s requests for further comment.
In regards to the allegations in The Atlantic, which reported multiple accounts of Singer allegedly having sexual encounters with underage boys, Malek said, “My heart goes out to anyone who has to live through anything like what I’ve heard and what is out there. It’s awful, it’s remarkable that this happens, I can appreciate so much what they’ve been through and how difficult this must be for them. In the light of the #MeToo era that this somehow seems to exist after that, it’s a horrible thing.”
Singer was accused of sexual misconduct in the past, but The Atlantic report involves four new accusations from men speaking out for the first time. Singer’s attorney told the publication the article “rehashes claims from bogus lawsuits.”
Malek previously said he was not aware of the claims against Singer before making Bohemian Rhapsody: “I didn’t know much about Bryan. I think that the allegations and things were, believe it or not, honestly something I was not aware of, and that is what it is.”