Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody

After years of languishing in development hell, the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody finally started making significant progress over the last year. Bryan Singer was tapped to direct the movie, Mr. Robot star Rami Malek was hired to play the Queen frontman, the supporting cast was gathered this past summer and the cameras started rolling in September. However, 20th Century Fox announced today that Bohemian Rhapsody has halted production due to Singer's "unexpected unavailability."

Per BBC, Bryan Singer's representative stated that the reason for the sudden suspension is a "personal health matter concerning Bryan and his family." A separate statement said that Singer "hopes to get back to work on the film soon after the holidays." However, THR has heard from its sources that Singer failed to return to Bohemian Rhapsody's set after the Thanksgiving break, a move that made producers so nervous about the production that there's been consideration about replacing him. Supposedly shooting Bohemian Rhapsody hasn't been an easy process either. Rami Malek and the producers reportedly had "grown tired" of Singer's behavior, which included him frequently arriving late to set. A different source claimed that during one of Singer's absences, a cinematographer filled in to direct. Apparently this isn't the first time Singer has vanished while shooting a movie, having previously done so on Superman Returns and X-Men: Apocalypse.

This is certainly an unusual development and adds another preverbal speed bump in Bohemian Rhapsody's long journey to be made. It's unclear how much filming is left on the biopic, but if the plan is still to release it by the end of next year, then Singer will have to be back in the director's chair by next month (or perhaps early February at the latest) in order to stay on schedule. Of course, if things get drastic enough and Singer does need to be replaced, it wouldn't be the only major motion picture that's recently brought in a new director in the middle of production. Back in June, Lucasfilm recruited director Ron Howard to replace Phil Lord and Chris Miller on Solo: A Star Wars Story after 75% of principal photography was completed.

The Bohemian Rhapsody movie will chronicle the formation of Queen up until the band's appearance at the Live Aid concert in 1985. Along with Rami Malek as the lead, its cast includes Lucy Boynton, Ben Hardy, Gwilym Lee, Joseph Mazzello, Allen Leech, Aaron McCusker, Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander and Mike Myers. Original Queen members Roger Taylor and Brian May are attached as Bohemian Rhapsody's music producers.

Bohemian Rhapsody is still slated to be released Christmas Day, 2018. As for when next year's other major theatrical releases will arrive, you can find that information in our 2018 premiere guide.

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