Bryan Singer—a director with credits like X-Men, The Usual Suspects, and Superman Returns—was fired Monday from the upcoming Fox film Bohemian Rhapsody. He was dismissed from the biopic about the Queen singer Freddie Mercury (starring Mr. Robot’s Rami Malek) after he stopped reporting to set a week earlier, which initially prompted the studio to suspend production. But Fox is now looking for a new director to complete filming and oversee postproduction. The firing is the culmination of a long history of alleged unprofessionalism from Singer. Over his 20-year career, he’s been the subject of rumors detailing unannounced absences and friction with actors on the sets of multiple movies, as well as sexual-abuse allegations dating back to 1997.
Initial reports don’t indicate that Singer’s firing had to do with the latter issue. The director said in a statement that he was attempting to care for a parent with “pressing health matters” and that Fox hadn’t allowed him to take leave from the project. Fox stated only that Singer was “no longer” working on the movie. The filmmaker’s Hollywood career, regardless, may finally have hit a wall. For years, even his reputation for causing production troubles, and the far more disturbing reports of sexual misconduct, haven’t been enough to keep him from being hired for high-profile jobs. So it may seem surprising that Singer’s failure to show up on set ended up being the reason for his firing. But his dismissal appears to be another sign that studios are slowly starting to change their standards for powerful men, who have been insulated and protected by Hollywood until recently.