A new Hollywood Reporter article about director Bryan Singer’s behavior during the making of the “X-Men” films reveals the main cast, including Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry, threatened to quit the superhero sequel “X2: X-Men United” following a stunt gone wrong. Sources present during the filming of the comic book tentpole told THR that the stunt was performed ahead of schedule and while Singer and other members of the crew were “incapacitated after taking a narcotic.”
“X-Men” producer Tom DeSanto allegedly called for production to be halted 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.” An injury occurred during a scene set on the X-Jet that featured all of the main cast except Ian McKellen. The scene in question was supposed to be filmed the following day. Bumping the scene ahead of schedule meant no stunt coordinators were present on set. Singer’s decision to shoot anyway allegedly resulted in “a botched stunt that left Jackman bleeding on camera.”
Ralph Winter, another “X-Men” producer, shut down production following the botched stunt. The “X-Men” cast threatened to quit the film the next day after 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 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 ended up finishing the production of “X2: X-Men United” with his cast in place. The filmmaker would return to the franchise with sequels “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “X-Men: Apocalypse.” Earlier in the THR report, executives behind “X-Men” admitted that allowing Singer to continue with the franchise despite such behavior is part of what enabled him to continue acting this way on sets throughout his career.
“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.”
A representative for Singer told THR “nothing like that ever happened” in regards to the set injury. IndieWire has reached out to the director’s team for further comment.