X-Men’s franchise is aging well at 20, but the iconic director who helped set the stage almost ruined it, according to a story in The Hollywood Reporter revealing new details of Bryan Singer's dangerous behavior on-set.
The report alleges that the main cast, including Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry, threatened to quit X2: X-Men United following a faulty stunt. Sources tell THR that the stunt was performed ahead of schedule while Singer and other members of the crew were “incapacitated after taking a narcotic.”
The scene in question featured all of the main cast except Ian McKellen; no stunt coordinators were present. After the erroneous stunt, Jackman was left bleeding.
Producer Tom DeSanto allegedly called for a stop to production after learning Singer was incapacitated as he “became fearful that someone on set could be injured.” Sources told THR that Singer “was defiant and continued shooting.”
Ralph Winter, another producer, successfully shut it down, and the cast threatened to quit when 20th Century Fox “appeared to side with Singer” by telling DeSanto to leave the production and return to Los Angeles. THR reports: “That prompted the main cast members, minus McKellen and [Rebecca] Romijn — all dressed in their full X-Men costumes — to converge in Singer’s trailer and confront him, threatening to quit if DeSanto left. That’s when Berry famously said to Singer, ‘You can kiss my Black ass,’ a line that has been oft-reported in the years since but never with the correct backstory.”
Singer managed to finish the production with the cast in place, and he returned to direct X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse.
“It’s a weird business, the film business,” producer Lauren Shuler Donner said. “We honor creativity and talent and we forgive the brilliant ones. Unconsciously, we probably do enable them by turning a blind eye to whatever they’re doing and taking their product and putting it out to the world.”
An executive involved with the X-Men films speaking anonymously added, “His behavior was poor on the movie. We accommodated him on the first movie, and therefore we can accommodate him on the second movie. And on and on. And it created a monster.”