Film News

Rumor Analysis: Is Fox Trying to Kick Bryan Singer Off as Director of X-Men: Apocalypse?

Bryan Singer was the first person to officially announce that X-Men: Days of Future Past would be getting a sequel called X-Men: Apocalypse, and it was subsequently confirmed he would be the man to direct Apocalypse.  Days of Future Past has now returned the franchise to box office figures it hasn’t seen since 2006, and much of it is because Singer made a movie that has no business being as good as it is.  Instead of being an Amazing Spider-Man 2-esque mess, which many had expected, it turned out to be one of the best X-Men films ever, up there with X2 and First Class.

There is the little matter of that kid, Michael Egan III, who says Bryan Singer and three other Hollywood execs. plied him with alcohol and cocaine and raped him in Hawaii when he was still a minor in 2000.  Singer and the other accused individuals have all publicly declared their innocence, and filed motions to dismiss.  Earlier this month, the case against Disney exec. David Neuman was voluntarily withdrawn after Egan was found to have made a 2003 declaration that he “never had any kind of physical contact” with Neuman other than non-sexual social contact.  Singer and the other two defendants’ motions to dismiss are currently scheduled to be heard July 28, and all of their motions provide exhaustive proof of their whereabouts (specifically that they weren’t in Hawaii) during the time in question as well as point to a 2000 deposition given by Egan in which he repeatedly contradicts what he now alleges in the 2014 suit.  Egan’s lawyer has also filed a separate suit on behalf of “John Doe 117,” an anonymous British actor who claims Singer and others raped him at the London premiere of Superman Returns in 2006.

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Based upon the evidence that’s out there, Singer appears to be innocent, but with Fox needing to go straight into production on Apocalypse to maintain its pre-announced May 2016 opening they may be getting a bit nervous about whether or not Singer’s legal woes will prevent him from being able to finish the film on time.

RUMOR: 

According to an insider, Singer, 48, is squaring off with 20th Century Fox over the implications of the sex abuse case and whether or not he should still direct the sequel toX-Men: Days of Future Past.

“Fox isn’t confident in it not heavily impacting production. Bryan’s lawyers are going nuts because the deal was closed months ago.”  Singer’s legal team has provided Fox with proof that the lawsuits are fiction, the source claims, but it’s money that’s the issue.  “They don’t really care whether he’s innocent or guilty — they’re only concerned with the bottom line, which is giving him another $250 to $350 million to make Apocalypse. There have been talks about who else he’d let direct it, with him producing, but those led to heated arguments and walk outs.”

SOURCE: RadarOnline.com

ARE THEY RELIABLE?: They are a TMZ-style gossip site whose recent “Exclusive” headlines include this Bryan Singer story along with a bunch of scoops about the sad lives of reality TV stars (divorces, financial ruin, etc.) mixed in with your standard Lyndsay Lohan-fell-off-the-wagon-again expose.  According to BadAssDigest’s Devin Faraci, whose been covering film and TV on the internet for a decade, Radar’s track record is “spotty, at best.

OUR REACTION: So, a gossip site just told us that Fox couldn’t care less about whether or not Bryan Singer really raped a boy.  They’re just concerned about what his legal case might mean for their big movie, and whether or not giving him $250-350 million to go make it is a fiscally sound idea anymore?  Um, no shit.  That’s not anything we couldn’t have already guessed for ourselves due to built up cynicism about Hollywood as well as a passing knowledge of the practical complexities involved with delivering a film on the level of X-Men: Apocalypse in just two years.

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As a point of comparison, let’s look at another Marvel film property currently operating on the “1 new movie every 2 years” principle.  When The Amazing Spider-Man 1 came out over the Fourth of July in 2012 the production team was already in pre-development on a sequel, which was finally read to go in front of the cameras by February of 2013.  Director Marc Webb wrapped filming by the end of June, leaving them just south of 8 months left to complete the visual effects, go back in for the inevitable re-shoots (which took place January of this year), and ramp up the promotion machine to meet their mid-April international debut, early-May domestic launch.  That’s all for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, a comic book movie which is absolutely nothing in terms of scope in comparison to the Transformers-esque, disaster movie-sized destruction Singer and company have been promising for X-Men: Apocalypse.  They have around 23 months to make their release date, and as of last update they’re still writing the script.

There’s nothing out of the ordinary there as that’s all simply the reality of making these types of movies these days.  In fact, ASM2 looks like it did beautifully for itself by completing filming around 8 months prior to release, especially when something like Marvel’s Ant-Man is due out almost exactly 13 months from now and has yet to start filming, only recently hiring a new director and screenwriter.  However, after the re-shoots for Days of Future Past turned it into the second most-expensive film in 20th Century Fox’s history, and has now turned into likely the biggest comic book movie of the summer but nowhere near the level of The Avengers or Iron Man 3 you could see where Fox might be a little concerned about the budget to begin with.  Add on top of that the uncertainty over what any kind of protracted legal defense (and it’s a big if as to whether or not these cases ever make it to court) for Bryan Singer might mean for Apocalypse’s filming schedule there is a honest and practical question for them to ask their erstwhile director: will you be able to complete this film on time?

The point about Fox asking him to produce and let someone else direct does also sound completely like something Fox would do.  Keep in mind that Matthew Vaughn was supposed to direct X-Men: The Last Stand, and bailed at the last minute, leaving Bret Ratner to be the guy who got to yell “Action!” on set.  Bryan Singer was then supposed to direct X-Men: First Class, but walked very late in the game, instead serving as producer and letting Matthew Vaughn step in to somehow direct and finish the film in time for its fastily approaching release date.  Then, Vaughn was meant to direct Days of Future Past until something else caught his fancy, forcing producer Singer to take over, although unlike those other occasions that happened relatively early on in production.  Not to mention the whole stretch of time when Darren Aronofsky was supposed to direct The Wolverine, and then, obviously, didn’t.  So, some drama with Fox over who’s going to direct an X-Men movie is par for the course.

That all being said, I just don’t trust this for one second because I don’t know enough about RadarOnline to give them the benefit of the doubt whereas I am a regular reader of BadAssDigest and would trust their low opinion of Radar.

VERDICT: Let’s wait until someone other than RadarOnline tell us this is true.

X-Men: Apocalypse is currently scheduled to make its worldwide debut on May 27, 2016

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