Bohemian Rhapsody, the 2018 movie about Queen and beloved singer Freddie Mercury, took the top spot at the box office when it opened. But few realize it was eight years in the making. The story behind the making of Bohemian Rhapsody includes plenty of controversy and arguments. Many different scripts, directors, and actors joined the movie and were then replaced or fired. And it transformed from a gritty R-rated tale to a family-friendly epic and then halfway back again.
While the original song is an undisputed classic with a fascinating history of its own, this collection of Bohemian Rhapsody stories tells the tale of the troubled and chaotic production that brought Queen's journey to movie theaters worldwide.
Director Dexter Fletcher QuitPhoto: Alex Bailey, TM & © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Dexter Fletcher was hired as director in 2014, but he clashed with producer Graham King. Apparently, according to Deadline, Fletcher thought Sacha Baron Cohen's idea of an R-rated biopic thoroughly focused on Mercury's life was a more interesting concept.
During Fletcher's time working on the movie, Ben Whishaw was considered to play Freddie Mercury, but Rami Malek was eventually chosen in 2016. In the end, Fletcher quit, unable to resolve his issues with the script.
Bryan Singer Was Hired To Direct, Despite Much Controversy
In 2016, X-Men director Bryan Singer was hired to helm the movie, raising eyebrows. Singer had recently come under scrutiny for his behavior on the set of X-Men: Apocalypse and other films, which reportedly included showing up late and having emotional outbursts. He was also the subject of sexual misconduct allegations going back to 1997, leading an anonymous movie insider to ask The Hollywood Reporter, "How many at-bats do you get?"
Regardless, Fox went forward with their choice, and Singer traveled to London to shoot the movie.
Bryan Singer May Have Physically Fought With Rami Malek
Fox warned Bryan Singer before the movie started shooting that he was expected to rein in his behavior, but problems began almost immediately. Singer frequently failed to show up for work and sometimes had cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel shoot parts of the film for him.
Singer's behavior apparently upset Rami Malek, who clashed with Singer regularly. Singer is even rumored to have gotten in an argument with Malek that ended with the director throwing a piece of electrical equipment, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Fox Fired Bryan Singer And Dexter Fletcher Returned
Around Thanksgiving 2017, Bryan Singer left London - despite being warned not to do so. Singer wanted multiple weeks off production, which he claimed was for visiting his ailing mother in New Jersey. But Singer went to Los Angeles, CA, after leaving.
Fox fired Singer after the incident, bringing back Dexter Fletcher to finish the last few weeks of production. Fletcher was happy to help, but said, "It was really about watching what had been already created and being part of that."