“As far as I knew, I was considered before Bryan was even attached,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “So I had my head down preparing for this for about a year ahead of time, and I never really looked up.”
Of his time working with Singer, 53, who was repeatedly accused of sexual misconduct, Malek said, “I didn’t know much about Bryan. I think that the allegations and things were, believe it or not, honestly something I was not aware of, and that is what it is.”
“Who knows what happens with that … but I think somehow we found a way to persevere through everything that was thrown our way,” he continued. “Perhaps that was Freddie himself doing it because we wanted to make a product that was worthy of him. Who knows? I’m just proud that this cast and crew collectively raised their game and we depended on one another.”
“It was a testament to everyone’s spirit and courage and skill. And one thing I will say about everyone — almost everyone — we never gave up,” the actor added.
The director has had multiple accusations of sexual misconduct levied against him.
In 2014, aspiring model and actor Michael Egan filed a civil suit against the director, claiming he forced him into sex during parties in California and Hawaii in the late 1990s.
The director’s attorney, Martin Singer, called the lawsuit “absurd and defamatory.”
Singer also submitted evidence he claimed proved he was not in Hawaii at the time of the alleged assault. Egan later parted ways with his attorney after declining to enter into a settlement. He ultimately dropped the lawsuit, saying he could not find a new lawyer to represent him.
In 2015, Egan was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to committing securities and wire fraud, according to Variety.
Later in 2014, a second accuser filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against Singer. When he was 17, the man claimed in the lawsuit, Singer fondled him and tried to force him to have sex. Singer denied the allegations.
The director responded to a report that Esquire would be publishing an exposé on him last year, writing, “In today’s climate where people’s careers are being harmed by mere accusations, what Esquire is attempting to do is a reckless disregard for the truth, making assumptions that are fictional and irresponsible.”
The film, which has become the highest-grossing music biopic of all time, tells the story of Queen lead singer Mercury, played by Malek, and the band’s rise to fame.
Malek later explained his decision to leave Singer out of his acceptance speech following the awards.
“There’s only one thing we needed to do and that was to celebrate Freddie Mercury in this film,” he said backstage. “He is a marvel. There is only one Freddie Mercury and nothing would compromise us giving him the love, celebration and adulation he deserves.”