Director Bryan Singer has been hit with several sexual-assault accusations throughout his career, all of which he has denied, including recent accusations that stretch back to the 1990s. But as a story from The Hollywood Reporter makes clear, his behavior on the set of the X-Men movies, Singer’s successful franchise work, was also erratic and dangerous for the cast and crew. With interviews from many involved in the movies, including longtime X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner, revealing that Singer did drugs on set, cast young men in bit parts with the implication that he may have offered them work in exchange for sex, and used his success to protect himself. Singer’s erratic behavior on set has been reported on in the past (he left X-Men: Apocalypse due to “thyroid issues”), though this presents his actions and enablers in greater, even more absurd detail.
In one of the most memorable anecdotes, THR describes a fight between producer Tom DeSanto and Singer on the set of the second movie, in which DeSanto tried to stop shooting after Singer and “several crewmembers” had taken a narcotic. Singer refused to stop, filming a stunt (without a coordinator present) with Hugh Jackman that went wrong and “left Jackman bleeding on camera.” When the studio appeared to side with the director and told DeSanto to go back to L.A., “the main castmembers, minus McKellen and Romijn — all dressed in their full X-Men costumes” went to confront Singer, leading to a moment where Halle Berry told him “you can kiss my Black ass.” Singer previously framed that confrontation in an interview in 2014 as a “personal argument” between him and DeSanto, though DeSanto declined to comment for THR’s report, and Singer’s rep told them “nothing like that ever happened.”
The report’s also full of intimations that Singer’s alleged misconduct was entangled in his working practices. “Bryan would bring people to story meetings who weren’t involved in the movies,” one source said. “Young guys. A different person every time.” No involved one remembers how Alex Burton, the 18-year-old with no previous credits who played Pyro in the first move and replaced in the second, was cast. After the movie premiere, Burton filed a civil suit that did not name Singer but was against three of his associates at the Digital Entertainment Network (a TV for the internet company that has been the locus of several Singer accusations), and was awarded $6 million, though the money is yet to be paid.