In a conversation at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival Friday, in which Malek was being honored for his Academy Award-nominated portrayal of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, The Hollywood Reporter asked the 37-year-old actor about the recent allegations against the filmmaker.
“My heart goes out to anyone who has to live through anything like what I’ve heard and what is out there,” Malek told the audience. “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.”
Malek then spoke about his experience working with Singer, who has long been accused of abusing or raping teenage boys and creating toxic work environments on his movie sets. The “Mr. Robot” star said he previously had a difficult time talking about his time working with the director because he didn’t want to take attention away from Mercury or Queen, but said he doesn’t “want anyone to not feel like they can share their story.”
“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,” Malek said. “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.”
The Hollywood Reporter noted that Malek seemed visibly emotional while speaking about Singer.
“For anyone who is seeking any solace in all of this, Bryan Singer was fired,” Malek added to the audience. “Bryan Singer was fired, I don’t think that was something anyone saw coming but I think that had to happen and it did.”
Singer was fired and replaced by Dexter Fletcher as director of “Bohemian Rhapsody” midway through production for failing to show up to work and not because of abuse allegations that came to light in December 2017, in which accuser Cesar Sanchez-Guzman said that Singer lured him into room during a 2003 yacht party and forced him to perform oral sex on him before raping him when he was 17 years old.
In January, the Atlantic published a new investigation — which the outlet said it worked on for 12 months and involved over 50 sources — that described claims against Singer from four new accusers.
Singer has denied all the allegations against him and called the Atlantic’s report a “homophobic smear piece” in a statement.
When Malek was asked about these allegations, he said he was previously unaware of them and was considered for the part of Mercury “before Bryan was even attached” to the film.
Despite being fired from the Queen biopic, Singer still received sole directorial credit on the movie and will see a $40 million payday from the high-grossing film. He is also still slated to direct the upcoming film “Red Sonja.”
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