Actor Alan Cumming is out promoting his autobiography this week. When he was asked about the allegations that the set of X-Men 2 was not a great place to work, he didn’t hold back. He said the set was both abusive and dangerous.
Cumming played Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler in the 2003 X-Men sequel. He was excellent in the movie, and the movie has been held up as a high point in superhero filmmaking. It largely convinced studios that taking superhero movies seriously again after the lean years following Batman And Robin was worth it. Along with X-Men and Spider-Man (2002), no X-Men 2 probably means no Dark Knight Trilogy and no MCU today.
A movie milestone, it may be, but Cumming says it was so bad he would go home after work and cry. Cumming was talking to ex-music and entertainment journalist (and first X-Factor presenter) Kate Thornton on her White Wine Question Time podcast.
“We were really in a very bad working situation. It was dangerous, it was abusive, and the studio didn’t care. All the actors said something and they still just went: ‘Oh, nevermind. It’s only gonna be a few more weeks, don’t worry. And it’s gonna make a lot of money.’
They actually said that and also ‘you’re under contract’. And I said: ‘I don’t want to feel dirty about going to work’. I would cry, it was just tragic.
“I would be in that awful blue makeup. I put on loads of weight during that because I would just eat, I was exhausted. My boyfriend at the time would make all these crazy big meals. I would go home, eat a ton, have a couple glasses of wine, burst into tears, and go to sleep. And then go and be a miserable blue mutant [the next day].”
The Hollywood Reporter published an exposé in 2020. We reported on it here at Last Movie Outpost. It famously claimed that Tom DeSanto, a producer on X-Men 2, attempted to shut down the production when he learned that Singer was incapacitated after taking a narcotic.
According to reports, this had led to the shooting of a stunt scene that left actor Hugh Jackman injured and bleeding. The studio behind the film reportedly sided with Singer, and threatened to remove DeSanto from the set of X-Men 2. There was uproar and the actors converged on Singer’s trailer the following day and threatened to quit if DeSanto left. Rumors swirl that Halle Berry told Bryan Singer to:
“Kiss my black ass!”
It was already alleged by the UK e-column Popbitch that on the set of another movie Singer would build himself a “monitor fort” and direct the movie via intercom from inside. Allegedly here he was frequently joined by several young Filipino men he brought to the set as visitors, and on numerous occasions, the sounds of giggling and other noises were heard from within.
Famously Singer was fired mid-shoot from the 2018 Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. The allegations were that he was deeply troubled and simply started failing to turn up for work. At the time he was facing sexual misconduct accusations from at least four men, all of which he continues to deny to this day.
Talking to Thornton, Cumming says he no longer wants to work in blockbuster movies:
“I don’t care. In the book, I talk about stopping going on the trajectory that I was on, and being in blockbusters and becoming one of those sorts of movie stars, or that kind of actor being in those films.
You get quite famous, you do this film, then you get the big blockbusters. But I don’t want to do those films. I really don’t.”
Wondering why Singer was allowed to walk away from the X-Men universe and go and do Superman Returns? Wonder no more.