Bryan Singer is one of the primary architects of the modern age of superhero films, between his first two “X-Men” films in 2000 and 2003 as well as “Days of Future Past” and “Apocalypse” in 2014 and 2016. Those original two films also transformed Hugh Jackman, then mostly known for his work in theater, into an A-list film star through his portrayal of iconic superhero Wolverine. But since the release of those films, Singer has faced multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, as well as allegations from stars like Halle Berry and Jennifer Lawrence of volatile on-set behavior.
In a new interview with The Guardian, Jackman acknowledged Singer’s alleged unprofessional on-set behavior, saying there was conduct on the set of the first “X-Men” movie that would not happen today, but he didn’t know how to stand up to it at the time on his first American production.
“This was my first movie in America, you gotta understand; it was all so new to me,” Jackman told The Guardian. “I think it’s fair to say that … there are some stories, you know … I think there are some ways of being on set that would not happen now. And I think that things have changed for the better.”
Speaking more broadly about the industry at large, Jackman added that “there’s way less tolerance for disrespectful, marginalizing, bullying, any oppressive behavior. There’s zero tolerance for it now and people will speak out, and I think that’s great.”
Although Jackman declined to say much more about Singer, when asked about how Singer’s misconduct allegations have impacted how he sees the films that made him famous, “The Son” actor said it was “complicated,” but he ultimately is proud of the movies and their impact in leading to the modern wave of superhero films.
“That’s a really, really complicated question,” Jackman said. “There’s a lot of things at stake there. ‘X-Men’ was the turning point, I believe, in terms of comic-book movies and I think there’s a lot to be proud of. And there’s certainly questions to be asked and I think they should be asked. But I guess I don’t know how to elegantly answer that. I think it’s complex and ultimately I look back with pride at what we’ve achieved and what momentum that started.”
In 2020, Berry, who played superhero Storm in the Fox superhero franchise, detailed numerous fights with Singer during the production of “Days of Future Past,” telling Variety that “everybody’s heard the stories — I don’t have to repeat them — and heard of his challenges, and what he struggles with.” In a Hollywood Reporter roundtable conversation last month, Lawrence, who played Mystique in “Future Past” and “Apocalypse,” spoke about “hissy fits” that Singer threw on set.
“It did always just make us laugh about how we ended up with, ‘Women shouldn’t be in roles like this because we’re so emotional,’” Lawrence said. “I mean, I’ve worked with Bryan Singer. I’ve seen emotional men. I’ve seen the biggest hissy fits thrown on set.”
Jackman is set to return to the role of Wolverine in “Deadpool 3,” which co-stars Ryan Reynolds and will go into production this year in preparation for a 2024 release. In an interview on the HBO Max talk show “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?,” Jackman said the film will feature him doing things as Wolverine he’s “never done before.”
“When I keep thinking of me and Ryan, of Deadpool and Wolverine, which are classic comic-book rivals, there’s also a dynamic that I’ve never really got to do before as Wolverine,” Jackman said. “I just thought, ‘This is gonna be fun. Something I’ve never done before. I can’t wait.'”