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Why Did Bryan Singer Ban Comic Books on the Set of the X-Men Movie?

Many comic books were adapted to live-action films, one of the pioneers in the industry was the X-Men franchise. But did you know that during the filming of the movie, Brian Singer had some odd rules?

Bryan Singer, the director of the X-Men movies, banned the comics while filming. He wanted to portray “3D characters” and worried the comic books might influence how the actors interpreted their roles.

Banning X-Men Comics on Set

In an interview with MTV News in 2018, Actor Hugh Jackman who portrayed the iconic Logan in the X-Men franchise, revealed that the franchise’s director Bryan Singer gave an unusual instruction to the cast and crew. (Source: Screen Rant)

Singer, a young yet talented director at the time, banned comic books on the set. He specifically banned X-Men comic books. Singer’s instruction was very odd since their movie was based on that specific comic book.

Singer later explained to the cast and crew that comic books were perceived as children’s literature, but he had a vision on how he wanted to adapt it. Singer wanted the audience to take the comic book characters seriously, as real three-dimensional characters. He added that people who didn’t understand these comics might take the characters in their two-dimensional form.

Singer was successful in creating more realistic versions of the mutant characters. He was not faithful to the characters’ colorful uniforms in the comic books. The director chose dark leather costumes instead. Singer also played down specific characters’ powers. He didn’t want these characters to be so powerful it wasn’t believable anymore. (Source: Cinema Blend)

In the end, Singer’s strategy paid off. He was able to get each actor to portray their characters in their own approach. Singer’s adaptation also stood out from the common tongue-in-cheek comic book adaptations at that time.

Bryan Singer’s Dark Personal Background

Singer’s auteur in the making of the X-Men franchise heavily influenced Hollywood when it came to comic book adaptation of superheroes and villains. Singer’s success may have led him to take controversial actions both in his personal and work lives. (Source: Hollywood Reporter)

With the success of the first installment of the X-Men franchise, Singer suddenly was propelled to celebrity status and at the same time earned so much money. Cast and crew members accounted for Singer’s behavior and mood swings during the filming of the films.

Singer was known to delay filming and shooting due to his partying and subsequent absences. Executives also noted that he behaved poorly on set, but they continued with the project since they already accommodated and turned a blind eye on the first film.

Singer was also facing a civil lawsuit in 1997, a few years before the X-Men franchise. The case originated from his 1997 film Apt Pupil where two boys aged 14 and 17 claimed that the director ordered them to strip naked for one of the scenes.

Many accounts also claim that young, handsome minors were promised auditions and minor roles in the X-Men franchise for sexual favors.
When X2 was being filmed, cast and crew members noticed Singer grew more erratic and destructive. This led to a fight between him and producer DeSanto, who ultimately shut down the production. Their fight began when DeSanto found out Singer took narcotics, causing DeSanto to be afraid that an accident may occur. Singer continued shooting, defying DeSanto, leading Hugh Jackman to minor injuries.

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