This year marks the 20-year anniversary of the release of X-Men. While Spider-Man, which hit theaters two years later, seems to get a lot of praise for jumpstarting the superhero craze of today, X-Men was really the first post-Batman & Robin comic book adaptation that was not only well made, but a hit at the box office, too.
In fact, it spawned an entire franchise that lasted for nearly 20 years before Disney eventually bought 20th Century Fox and the X-Men property along with it. And perhaps the man most responsible for the success of the pic is Bryan Singer.
Of course, Singer would go on to become a major blockbuster filmmaker, directing five X-Men movies, a Superman film and a Tom Cruise WWII thriller, among other things. But all of that success has been clouded recently by numerous reports of alleged sexual misconduct involving minors and bizarre onset behavior. And now, the latest story to come out details an event from way back in 2003 during the filming of X2: X-Men United.
In THR’s retrospective on the franchise and Singer, the publication details an incident on the set of X2 that left star Hugh Jackman bleeding on camera. Apparently, producer Tom DeSanto wanted to shut down production one day after learning that Singer and some of the crew had taken an incapacitating narcotic while continuing to shoot and to make matters worse, Singer wanted to film a stunt that wasn’t scheduled for that day. As a result, there was no stunt coordinator to oversee the scene and Jackman ended up bleeding.
After it appeared the studio was siding with Singer over DeSanto and wanting the producer to leave the set, the main cast – minus Ian McKellen and Rebecca Romijn – threatened to quit if DeSanto left and confronted Singer. It was during this confrontation that Halle Berry told him: “You can kiss my black ass.”
Of course, numerous actors have spoken out about Singer’s behavior over the years, including Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn, Brandon Routh and Rami Malek. In fact, after Malek spoke up about Singer’s unprofessionalism on the set of Bohemian Rhapsody, the director was eventually fired.
But to this day, that remains the only movie he was fired from despite a track record of misconduct and this THR story is not only an indictment of Singer, but the studio system that allowed such behavior to continue because… you know, money. X-Men will forever be a major turning point in blockbuster and genre filmmaking, but the lasting legacy of the franchise will also carry with it a stigma thanks to Bryan Singer.