Belfast Telegraph

Bohemian Rhapsody actor's dismay over Queen film awards row

By Allan Preston

A Northern Ireland actor who starred in Bohemian Rhapsody has said a controversy over the film's ex-director felt like "a kick in the teeth".

Aaron McCusker plays Freddie Mercury's lover Jim Hutton in the smash-hit biopic of the legendary Queen frontman.

Director Bryan Singer was fired weeks before filming ended for "unreliable behaviour on set", but he claims he was ill and the studio was unwilling to accommodate him.

He's also facing allegations he sexually abused under-age boys, which he denies as a "homophobic smear".

His name was "suspended" from the film's Bafta Award nomination.

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster, Mr McCusker said his first day on set saw Mr Singer arrive four hours late.

"I had one scene where he directed me, but there were a huge amount of people in the scene so I'd no real one-on-one with him," he said.

"When I sat and spoke to him he was fine with me. I can't comment much on what he was like, because he never really directed me much."

He said most of his scenes were directed by Dexter Fletcher, who took over filming in the final weeks of shooting.

"Whether or not these allegations are true, a lot of individuals put a lot of work into a film and for this nomination to be pulled because of one person, I understand it, but it's a kick in the teeth for others," Mr McCusker said.

"People like the supporting artists, the costumes, the make-up, for all the other people who were there and worked very hard on this film.

"For people to home in on this one person - I understand because he's the director and the bigwig - but it's not fair on everyone else who was involved."

Mr McCusker said it was "fantastic" to have been part of Bohemian Rhapsody's success but, as a jobbing actor, he was already looking forward to the next gig.

"Yes, it was successful, but the past doesn't pay my bills, the future does," he said.

Ahead of the award ceremony in the Albert Hall, which was broadcast on Sunday, Bafta said Mr Singer's alleged behaviour was "completely unacceptable and incompatible" with its values.

While recognising his denial of the allegations, the suspension would remain in place "until the outcome of the allegation has been resolved".

They added: "Bafta believes everyone has the right to a fulfilling career in a safe, professional working environment, and it will continue to collaborate with the film, games and television industries to achieve this."

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