X-Men as a movie franchise has had something of a turbulent history. The first movie worked hand-in-hand with Blade to show studios it was a genre worth taking seriously again, washing away the taste of Batman and Robin while pacing the way for Raimi’s Spider-Man and Nolan’s Batman.
X-Men 2 showed studios there was serious franchise potential. X-Men 3 showed the curses of threequels and the impact of studio interference have never gone away.
Then it built up a fair degree of good will by dragging itself back from the brink with X-Men: First Class and making many comic fans dreams come true with X-Men: Days Of Future Past.
Then, basically, it soiled it’s own nest. X-Men Apocalypse got savage reviews and placed the franchise in life support. As a follow up Dark Phoenix came in, turned off the life-support machine and then torched the hospital just to be sure.
Throughout the making of these movies, frequent director Bryan Singer has had to deal with allegations in his private life and rumors of on-set activity. One rumor that surfaced in gossip circles was the allegation that the director liked to surround himself with young Filipino men on his sets. He built a monitor fortress while shooting and the boys join him in this fortress while direction was relayed remotely. Much giggling and other noises were heard from inside the fort.
One other charges levelled against him was that of absenteeism. The famous occurrence was when he was fired from Bohemian Rhapsody and replaced by Dexter Fletcher due to his long disappearances from the production.
Now actress Olivia Munn, who has become something of an equality crusader in the industry post #metoo, has spoken of her experiences on set. She starred as Psylocke in X-Men: Apocalypse.
In a recent interview with Variety she framed it as the differences between male filmmakers and female filmmakers and how they are treated:
She spoke about Singer leaving the $178m production for two weeks mid-way through filming:
“It’s the problem that I always had in this business, way before the #MeToo movement exposed so much. You’re in it and you see these people who keep failing up, and they’re not that great and you think, ‘Really?’ When we shot ‘X-Men,’ I never shot a huge movie like that before. I didn’t know what was right or wrong, but I did know that it seems strange that Bryan Singer could check out and say he had a thyroid issue.
Instead of going to a doctor in Montreal, which is a very high-level, working city, he said he had to go to Los Angeles. And he was gone for about ten days is my recollection. And he said, ‘Continue. Keep filming.’ We’d be on set, I remember there’s a big scene that we’d have, and we’d come back from lunch and then one of Bryan’s assistants would come up and show us a cell phone with a text message on it.
And he texted to the actors, ‘Hey guys. I’m busy right now. But just go ahead and start filming without me.’ And we’d be like, ‘OK.’ And I never thought any of it was normal, but I didn’t realize that other people also thought it wasn’t normal. And the other people who thought it wasn’t normal would be people at high levels, people who make decisions on whether to hire this person. Come to find out it is really strange and it wasn’t OK. But this person is allowed to continue to go on. Fox still gives him Bohemian Rhapsody, and then we all know what happened.”
The on-set professionalism including absenteeism was a cause for his replacement on the Queen biopic. He was closing on a Red Sonja remake when wider allegations about his private life caused the studio to move away from him.