Bryan Singer made the filming of X-Men movies hell.
Launched in 2000, the series has an undeniable role to play in the fact that superhero films are now surrounded by acclaim – but their director has done amazing things behind the scenes.
If someone is a born genius and an inspired artist, then society, fans, and staff are willing to overlook a lot of things for him. Director Bryan Singer is exactly the kind of professional by most filmmakers, but there have been plenty of accusations in recent years that, throughout his career, reveal sexual harassment and abuse, tantrums, and behind-the-scenes behavior that would have been no surprise if he became a Parisian. But exactly how did the industry close behind the director of the first X-Men films, and how did it cover up its abuses?
The inspired genius
A journalist from The Hollywood Reporter manages to speak out to several sources previously close to the director, and their statements reveal the image of a creator who has created a particularly harmful medium around him. Singer became a real star in the mid-’90s when he introduced his second major film, Ordinary Criminals, which was an amazing critical and financial success.
The artist, treated as a golden boy, was immediately noticed by larger studios, including 20th Century Fox, which began designing the very first X-Men film at this time. Although Bryan Singer wasn’t really familiar with comics about the adventures of Charles Xavier’s students, his producer, Tom DeSanto, was a big fan of the booklets, so he persuaded him to join the project – this was officially done in 1996.
It is important to note that there are plenty of interpretations of the stories of excommunicated mutants as allegories of gay society and the attacks on them. Thus, for Fox, Singer was probably a good choice not only because he was a talented director, but also because he was admittedly bisexual, so on the one hand he could serve as a good pull name, and on the other hand he was able to deepen the above-mentioned symbol system a bit.
At the time, almost everyone still adored the director, although charges had been brought against him even before X-Ment. Two underage boys sued the creators of the Stephen King adaptation of The Eminence, including director Bryan Singer; the accusation was that they were forced to undress naked for a scene against their will. In addition, at least two more have filed a lawsuit for threatening to fire them if they don’t play naked. In each case, the parties eventually settled out of court, so the details are still unknown to this day.
The above cases were barely echoed, so in 1998, X-Men: Filming Outsiders was launched, for which the studio provided the director with a budget of $ 75 million. There were quite a few professionals around the scenario, but the work was led by Singer and DeSanto. One source said about these discussions:
“Bryan brought people to the discussion about every story who had nothing to do with the film. Young guys. A different one each time.”
This type of working method seemed unusual and less professional, even for a director with a reputation as an amused genius, like Singer. This was also shown by the fact that plenty of acclaimed writers kneaded the script, yet for some reason the director commissioned David Hayter, who worked as his assistant, to take notes at the meetings and write his own version of the film.
Hayter later became a truly well-known actor, actor, screenwriter, and director (his voice is, for example, Solid Snake in the Metal Gear Solid series), but at the time, there was no reason at all to play such a role in making the script. This bothered several writers so much that they even took their names off the film’s cast list as they didn’t agree with the studio on that.
Singer also made particularly peculiar decisions during the casting, as he selected a supermodel (Rebecca Romijn) and a wrestler in addition to the two classical theater actors (Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart). In addition, for smaller roles, the director was looking for young and handsome boys. A good few of these young men claimed that Singer had offered them to be featured in his film in exchange for sex.
Several insiders working on the project also say they should have noticed the telltale signs first then. The most striking was the signing of 18-year-old Alex Burton, who previously had no listed role. He shaped the Pyro character seen in the first film for a few moments, who isn’t even mentioned in the original script. There are those who claim that Burton was flown from Los Angeles to Toronto, which is very unusual for such a trivial role, as the studio usually selects local talent. Others also reported that the young boy was playing rather crappy anyway.
Producers working on X-Men films also reported that Singer had plenty of friends turned behind the scenes during the work, including problematic figures.
After the premiere of the film, the aforementioned Alex Burton filed a lawsuit against the director’s three friends and business associates for being drugged, then sexually exploited against his will and threatened with physical abuse. The court awarded the boy $ 6 million in damages, but the amount was never paid. Burton changed his name and stayed away from Hollywood, which is why a new actor was given the role in the second part.
Beyond that ailment, it was quite difficult to work with Bryan Singer. Several former co-workers also claim to have been taking rough medications for an alleged back pain. Many blame these for the regular delays in filming, and they have been characterized by serious mood swings, often ending in outbursts of anger. In the heat of these, he tended to shout and humiliate those who worked with him, shouting in front of everyone.
Because of his whimsical nature, it was completely unpredictable; on one occasion he refused to wait for Rebecca Romijn, who plays Mystique, who had to spend hours with make-up artists because of her full body painting, so without her she recorded a scene in which she should have originally been featured. Kevin Feige, who was still a young producer at the time, was specifically instructed to keep an eye on Singer so he didn’t go too crazy.
However, because X-Men: Outsiders Printed the Money with Reality, Fox contracted to continue, with work that began in 2002, despite all the negative repercussions. So far, Singer’s behavior has become downright destructive and tumbling, with the result that he has also kicked the dust with his convincing producer, DeSanto. The thing got angry when DeSanto tried to pause filming after learning that Singer (and a few other people on the staff) had been using some kind of drug, making him completely unfit to do his job. However, the director did not stop filming at the producer’s request either, and without a stunt coordinator, he cut into a scene in which all the characters except Ian McKellen appeared. As a result of a poorly done stunt, Hugh Jackman was also injured on this shooting day.
DeSanto then turned to his superior, Ralph Winter, who had the right to stop filming, and he did. When the news of the incident reached the Fox heads as well, they supported Singer and reassigned DeSanto to the Los Angeles office. At that time, however, the entire cast — with the exception of McKellen and Romijn — marched on to the director and threatened that if DeSanto left, they would all leave the film. Halle Berry, who plays Cyclone, reportedly told Singer in the heat of the quarrel, “You can kiss my black !”
X-Men 2 was an even greater success than its predecessor, and Bryan Singer’s place in Hollywood seemed unshakable. Although he was accused of further sexual harassment from time to time, even his cases that reached the court stage did not really affect his career. In 2014, Fox again deployed it in connection with the X-Men franchise to direct the days of X-Men: The Future Past and then X-Men: Apocalypse.
By this time, there were already dozens of accusations against Singer and his rather dubious circle of friends, but that didn’t stop the studio from entrusting him with the Bohemian Rhapsody in 2017, which he intended for superproduction from the start. However, back in November of that year, the Me Too scandals erupted, and the deeds of Hollywood characters who seemed untouchable for decades began to come to light.
Suddenly, the cover around Bryan Singer also melted, and Fox removed it from the head of the Bohemian Rhapsody. According to rumors at the time, the director differed several times during the filming with the main character Rami Malek, so he had to leave. He himself claimed to have wanted to visit a family member who had health problems, but the studio did not allow it and was therefore fired. Much more likely, however, that the studio felt the harassment scandals swept under the rug over the years could now backfire, so it’s better to get rid of the director whose actions he legitimized for years.
Although several of his alleged victims had already spoken in public (many of them juveniles at the time of the harassment) and several lawsuits had been filed against him, in neither case had the director been convicted. In recent years, however, all of its previously announced productions have been screened, and there is no prospect of a film that I would be asked to direct. Producer Lauren Shuler Donner, who worked with him on X-Men movies, commented on Singer as follows:
“He was really anxious, and like many others, he was upset when he became insecure. However, this led him to quarrel with everyone and yell on set. we tolerated and flattered him. And if he hadn’t been so screwed up, he could have become a truly legendary director. “