Things aren’t looking so good for the upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic (starring Mr. Robot’s Rami Malek as Mercury). According to The Hollywood Reporter, director Bryan Singer has been fired from the movie, after a series of clashes with Malek. Singer reportedly “failed to return to set after the Thanksgiving holiday break,” which had previously put a stop to the film’s production and left producers considering a new director. This is undoubtedly the best option for Twentieth Century Fox Film, Malek, and the rest of the cast and crew: Singer has been accused of sexual abuse multiple times throughout his career, and while sources who spoke to THR said that Singer is missing from set because of a “personal health matter concerning Bryan and his family,” in the current political climate of outing sexual abusers, the timing of his unexpected absence is suspect.
So it is in Fox’s best interest to do whatever it can to salvage the production, because fans of Mercury and fans of Malek deserve to see this movie, which everyone has high hopes for. Here are some options for directors who could step into the role and would knock it out of the park (and hey, none of them are white men!):
Gregory James Nava: Nava is best known for directing Selena, the biopic about the late Tejano singer by the same name. The movie, cherished by Mexicans and high-school Spanish teachers everywhere, starred a young Jennifer Lopez in her breakout film role. Nava also wrote the screenplay for Frida, which starred Selma Hayek and won two Academy Awards. (Fun fact: I wasn’t allowed to watch this movie as a kid even though it’s also my name, and have never seen it! But I have almost universally heard it’s great, like me, so it’s worth noting.)
Floria Sigismondi: A prolific music video director, Sigismondi also wrote and directed the movie The Runaways about the girl band by the same name, starring Kristin Stewart and Dakota Fanning as Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, respectively. After watching the movie, Jett and Currie both expressed that Sigismondi’s portrayal of the early years of their band was just that—her own portrayal of their relationship and not 100% accurate, but they both seemed to appreciate it for what it is. That’s a pretty big endorsement, honestly, considering how other music legends have responded to recent biographies.
Charles Stone III: He’s the director of the 2002 classic Drumline! Need I say more? Probably not, but I will: Stone also directed the biopic CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, starring Keke Palmer as Chilli. CrazySexyCool was made for TV and premiered on VH1, and admittedly we both have never heard of it, but Drumline is iconic thanks to how Nick Cannon singlehandedly made being in a college marching band cool, and hey, it’s sort of about music, right?
Barry Jenkins: Moonlight won Best Picture, if you remember, at last year’s Oscars, and I think Jenkins would do a great job rendering Mercury’s life in a beautiful and memorable way. Surely we would all leave the theater crying if he were to take the reins and would that be the worst thing in the world? In Jenkins’ hands, I don’t think so.