Bryan Singer

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Bryan Singer
Bryan Singer by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Singer at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con
Born (1965-09-17) September 17, 1965 (age 49)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Film director, Writer and producer
Years active 1988–present

Bryan Jay Singer (born September 17, 1965)[1] is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. Singer received critical acclaim for his work on The Usual Suspects, and is also known for his work on the X-Men films and Superman Returns. Other films he directed include Apt Pupil, Valkyrie and Jack the Giant Slayer.

Early life[edit]

Singer was born in New York City, and was adopted by Grace Sinden, an environmental activist, and Norbert Dave Singer, a corporate executive.[1] He grew up in a Jewish household in West Windsor Township, New Jersey. He attended West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South (formerly just West Windsor-Plainsboro High School), graduating in 1984.[2] For college, Singer studied filmmaking for two years at New York's School of Visual Arts and later transferred to the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles.[3] Actors Lori and Marc Singer are his cousins.

Professional career[edit]

After graduating, Singer directed a short film called Lion's Den involving a number of friends, including actor Ethan Hawke whom he knew from his childhood in New Jersey[4] and editor John Ottman who he had met while working on a friend's short film.[5]

After a screening of Lion's Den, Singer was approached by someone who knew of a Japanese company that funded low-budget films. Singer wrote the concept for Public Access with high school friend Christopher McQuarrie, and fellow USC student Michael Feit Dougan wrote the first draft in ten days about a supposedly idyllic small town. Ottman again served as editor but this time also composed the score for the film. At the 1993 Sundance Film Festival, the film was named as co-winner of the Grand Jury Prize.[6][7]

While attending the 1993 Sundance Film Festival, Singer and McQuarrie began discussing an idea that McQuarrie had for a story where "five criminals meet in a police line-up". The film, The Usual Suspects, won a number of awards including the 1995 BAFTA Award for Best Film and Saturn Award for Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film. Writer McQuarrie won the Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay and the BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay, composer/editor Ottman won the BAFTA Award for Best Editing and the Saturn Award for Best Music and actor Kevin Spacey won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

In 1998, Singer directed Apt Pupil from a screenplay written by Brandon Boyce, another of his friends. The story, adapted from a Stephen King novella of the same name (collected in the book Different Seasons), tells of a young boy who develops a morbid fascination with a Nazi war criminal.

Singer was initially approached by 20th Century Fox to direct X-Men after directing The Usual Suspects, but not being a fan of comics and being unaware of the characters, Singer turned them down. However his friend, Tom DeSanto, a big fan of the comics and partner in his production company Bad Hat Harry Productions, eventually persuaded Singer to reconsider and, after reading the comics and becoming familiar with the characters, Singer signed on to direct. Rejecting all the scripts and storylines that were developed over a decade of failed production attempts, Singer developed the story for the film with DeSanto in a week and then worked on the script with writers Ed Solomon, Christopher McQuarrie, Joss Whedon, and finally David Hayter (who had started out as Singer's driver). Only Hayter received onscreen credit for writing the film. Singer won the 2000 Saturn Award for Best Direction for X-Men.

In early 2001, Singer was planning to direct Confessions of a Dangerous Mind with Johnny Depp in the lead role, from Charlie Kaufman's script based on the Chuck Barris book of the same name. Financial troubles delayed production and Singer moved on. The film was later directed by George Clooney for Miramax Films with Sam Rockwell in the lead role. Singer has said that he was "very impressed" by Clooney's debut as a director, and the film itself.

In late 2001, Singer was planning to help DeSanto produce a new Battlestar Galactica television series for Studios USA (now NBC Universal Television Studio) and the FOX network. Singer was scheduled to direct the mini-series which would have served as a backdoor pilot for a potential series. Speaking to Variety in February 2001, Singer said he was "confident that the Galactica brand is a sleeping giant. It was a show I watched during its initial run, from the pilot to the final episode. The essence and the brand name is quite potent in a climate where there's a great deficit of sci-fi programming."[8] Despite his enthusiasm, production delays caused by the September 11, 2001 attacks meant Singer had to drop out due to his commitment to direct X-Men 2. FOX then lost interest in Galactica and Studios USA took the project to the Sci Fi Channel and a different production team. This resulted in the new Battlestar Galactica 2003 mini-series and 2004 television series, which ran until 2008. By August 2012 the script was being rewritten, with Singer explaining that "It will exist, I think, quite well between the Glen Larson and Ron Moore universes".

In June 2002 filming began on X2 in Canada with Singer again directing, this time from a screenplay written by David Hayter, Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty. In 2004, X2 was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, but lost to Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

In 2002, having learned that Singer was a lifelong Star Trek fan, Patrick Stewart arranged for Singer to visit the set of Star Trek Nemesis and appear in the finished film as a Starfleet officer on the bridge of the Enterprise.

On November 16, 2004, a new medical drama debuted on FOX called House, with Singer attached as an executive producer. He also directed the pilot and the third episode, then appeared in a brief cameo as himself in the twelfth episode.

In mid-2004, Singer was in negotiations to direct X-Men: The Last Stand for Fox. Fox and Singer could not meet an agreement and, after an extended détente, Singer was offered the chance to direct the new Superman film, which was ready to go. On July 19, 2004, Variety reported that Singer had signed on to direct Superman Returns for Warner Bros. In retaliation, Fox terminated their production deal with Bad Hat Harry Productions, Singer's production company.[9] Superman Returns was filmed in Australia in 2005, and was released on June 28, 2006. Singer claims that though he had not read the comics, he had always admired and identified with the character, citing the fact that he and Superman are both orphans. He instead based Returns on his love of the 1978 film made by Richard Donner.[10]

Before embarking on the Superman sequel, Singer openly discussed helming a smaller project going back to the days of thrillers The Usual Suspects and Apt Pupil. In late 2006, screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie presented to Singer a story that took place in World War II, Valkyrie. In the following months, the two collaborated on the project, an original thriller that would be a multi-character ensemble piece. In March 2007, the duo brought the project directly to United Artists partners Paula Wagner and Tom Cruise, who immediately agreed to finance the film. The script is based on the actual events of German generals plotting to assassinate Adolf Hitler during World War II. Singer invited Tom Cruise to take the lead role, which Cruise accepted. Filming began on July 19, 2007 in Berlin, and the movie was released on December 25, 2008.

Upon finishing Valkyrie at the end of 2007, Singer was scheduled to jump directly into the upcoming Superman sequel, which was to begin filming around March 2008. Attending the 2007 Saturn Awards along with Superman Returns writers Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris and producer Gil Adler, Singer stated that the story had been locked down, and the first draft would be completed near the end of 2007. Plans for the sequel included more action sequences, an alien villain, and Singer's promise to "go all Wrath of Khan on it". Production on the film was eventually cancelled, in favor of a reboot directed by Zack Snyder.

In August 2009, Universal Pictures announced that Singer would direct and produce a big screen reimagining of the Battlestar Galactica television series of the late-1970s, which would not draw any material from the Syfy Channel reimagined series.[11]

On September 10, 2009, it was announced NBC has partnered with Bryan Singer and Bryan Fuller to adapt Augusten Burroughs's Sellevision into a series. The one-hour dramatic comedy, to be written by Fuller and directed by Singer, will focus on the inner workings of a fictional home shopping network, according to The Hollywood Reporter.[12]

At the premiere of James Cameron's Avatar on December 16, 2009, Singer confirmed that he would be directing Jack the Giant Slayer (2013) for Warner Bros., and that he had signed on to do X-Men: First Class,[13][14] but conflicts between the two projects led to Singer being only a producer and co-screenwriter on First Class,[15] with Matthew Vaughn taking over directorial duties.[16] In October 2012, it was announced that Singer would direct the next movie in the series, X-Men: Days of Future Past; Vaughn stayed on as a producer and screenwriter, and the film was released in May 2014.[17]

Bryan produced the commercials for the ice cream Magnum Gold, which featured Benicio del Toro.[18]

In 2012, Bryan was the executive producer alongside Jane Lynch of the short film, Ronny and I,[19] directed by Guy Shalem that screened at Outfest[20] and Cannes.[21] Ronny and I was considered a "revolution" in filmmaking due to the fact that the film was shot entirely on a smart phone.

Singer is directing yet another X-Men film entitled X-Men: Apocalypse[22] that he is also producing and co-writing with Simon Kinberg, Dan Harris, and Michael Dougherty.[23] Days of Future Past stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Jennifer Lawrence, and Evan Peters are re-teaming with Singer for Apocalypse.[24][25]

Personal life[edit]

Singer is openly bisexual having dated both men and women in the past[26] and has said that his life experiences of growing up as a minority influenced his movies.[27] In October 2014, it was confirmed he was expecting a child with actress Michelle Clunie.[28]

Legal problems[edit]

In 1997, a 14-year-old extra accused Singer of asking him and other minors to film a shower scene in the nude for the film Apt Pupil. A lawsuit was filed but dismissed for insufficient evidence.[29][30]

In April 2014, Singer was accused in a civil lawsuit of sexual assault of a minor. According to the suit filed by attorney Jeff Herman, Singer is alleged to have drugged and raped actor and model Michael Egan in Hawaii and Los Angeles in the late 1990s.[31] Singer's attorney called the allegations "completely fabricated" and said Singer plans to countersue.[32] Singer denied the allegations in a statement calling them "outrageous, vicious and completely false."[33] On May 22, 2014, Singer's attorney presented evidence to Federal District Judge Susan Oki Mollway stating that neither Singer nor Egan were in Hawaii at the time.[34] In early August 2014, Egan sought to withdraw his lawsuit via a Request for Court Order of Dismissal, and asked that it be granted “without prejudice or an award of costs or fees, in the interest of justice.”[35]

In May 2014, another lawsuit was filed by attorney Jeff Herman on behalf of an anonymous British man. Singer and producer Gary Goddard (who was also named separately in the first case) were accused of sexually assaulting "John Doe No. 117." According to the lawsuit, Goddard and Singer met the man for sex when he was a minor and engaged in acts of "gender violence" against him while in London for the premiere of Superman Returns.[36]

Filmography[edit]

Feature films
Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Producer Writer
1988 Lion's Den Yes Yes Yes Short film
1993 Public Access Yes Yes Yes
1995 The Usual Suspects Yes Yes
1998 Apt Pupil Yes Yes
Burn Yes
2000 X-Men Yes Yes
2003 X2 Yes Executive Yes
2006 Superman Returns Yes Yes
Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman Yes Documentary
2007 Color Me Olsen Yes Short film
2008 Valkyrie Yes Yes
2009 Trick 'r Treat Yes
2011 X-Men: First Class Yes Yes [15][37]
2013 Jack the Giant Slayer Yes Yes [38]
2013 Uwantme2killhim? Yes
2014 X-Men: Days of Future Past Yes Yes [39]
2015 The Taking of Deborah Logan Yes [40]
2016 X-Men: Apocalypse Yes Yes Yes (Pre-Production) [41]
Television
Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Producer Writer
2004–2012 House Yes (2004) Yes Directed first and third episode.
2005 The Triangle Yes Yes Miniseries
2006 The Science of Superman Yes TV documentary
2007 Football Wives Yes Yes Pilot
2007–2009 Dirty Sexy Money Yes
2008 Valkyrie: The Plot to Kill Hitler Yes TV documentary
2012 Mockingbird Lane Yes Yes TV special
Web series
Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Producer Writer
2012 H+: The Digital Series Yes
Actor

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Bryan Singer Biography (1965–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  2. Miller, Lynn. "More West Windsor Filmmaking Stars on the Horizon", West Windsor & Plainsboro News, December 15, 2007. Accessed December 15, 2007. "Two West Windsor-Plainsboro High School graduates are following in the footsteps of two other filmmakers from West Windsor, Bryan Singer and Christopher McQuarrie. Singer, Class of 1984, and McQuarrie, Class of 1986, have recently joined together for the filming of "Valkyrie,” a controversial film about Colonel Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, the German Army officer who tried to do away with Hitler during World War II."
  3. Weinraub, Bernard (July 9, 2000). "FILM; An Unusual Choice for the Role of Studio Superhero". The New York Times. Retrieved November 27, 2007. As a child, Mr. Singer grew up in Princeton Junction, N.J. His father, Norbert Singer, is a businessman and his mother, Grace, is an environmental activist and former state environmental official.... Mr. Singer attended the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan for two years, and then transferred to the University of Southern California. 
  4. John Ottman. "Projects – Lion's Den". johnottman.com. Retrieved January 2, 2008. 
  5. John Ottman. "Projects – Summer Rain". johnottman.com. Retrieved January 2, 2008. 
  6. BBC (July 13, 2006). "Comic book crusader: Bryan Singer". BBC News (BBC). Retrieved May 19, 2012. 
  7. Carsten Dau (2001). "Focus bryan singer". Directed By Online. Directed By Online. Retrieved May 19, 2012. 
  8. BBC (February 23, 2001). "Battlestar Galactica set for TV return". BBC News (BBC). Retrieved May 19, 2012. 
  9. Liza Foreman. "Fox breaks off film deal with helmer Singer". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 6, 2004. [dead link]
  10. Daniel Robert Epstein (May 3, 2006). "Bryan Singer director of Superman Returns". SuicideGirls.com. Retrieved October 7, 2006. 
  11. Nicole Sperling. "Bryan Singer to direct and produce 'Battlestar Galactica' movie". 
  12. Eng, Joyce (September 10, 2009). "Bryan Fuller, Bryan Singer Team Up with NBC for Sellevision". TV Guide. 
  13. "Avatar". MySpace. November 26, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  14. Edward Douglas. "Super Hero Hype – Bryan Singer Will Direct X-Men: First Class!". 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Fleming, Mike (March 26, 2010). "Bryan Singer Producing 'X-Men: First Class'". Deadline.com. Retrieved July 9, 2010. 
  16. Fleming, Mike (May 4, 2010). "Fox Signs Vaughn To Direct 'X-Men: First Class' And Sets June 3, 2011 Release Date". Deadline.com. Retrieved July 9, 2010. 
  17. Adam B. Vary. "Bryan Singer will direct 'X-Men: Days of Future Past'". 
  18. "NEW Magnum Gold?! is as Good as Gold". 
  19. Cameron Sinz (April 29, 2013). "Watch: Bryan Singer and Jane Lynch Present Exclusive Trai - Indiewire". Indiewire. Retrieved October 26, 2014. 
  20. "Ronny and I - 2013 Outfest". Retrieved October 26, 2014. 
  21. "Cannes 2013: 'Ronny & i' Trailer - Film Pulse". Film Pulse. Retrieved October 26, 2014. 
  22. Lesnick, Silas (December 5, 2013). "X-Men: Apocalypse Set for May 27, 2016". Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  23. Perry, Spencer (December 19, 2013). "Bryan Singer Assembles X2 Writers for X-Men: Apocalypse". Retrieved December 20, 2013. 
  24. "'X-Men: Apocalypse': Who will return? What new mutants may appear? Scoop on the next X-Men film -- Exclusive". Entertainment Weekly. April 11, 2014. Retrieved April 11, 2014. 
  25. "QUICKSILVER WILL HAVE EXPANDED ROLE IN X-MEN: APOCALYPSE". IGN. May 21, 2014. 
  26. "Brian Singer: "I am bisexual"". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved October 26, 2014. 
  27. Applebaum, Stephen. "Interview: Bryan Singer". BBC. Retrieved October 7, 2006. 
  28. "Bryan Singer Expecting First Child With Best Friend Michelle Clunie". usmagazine.com. October 23, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2014. 
  29. Ascher-Walsh, Rebecca. "Three minors who were extras say they were told to disrobe to shoot a shower scene". Entertainment Weekly. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  30. Satoodeh, Ramin. "Bryan Singer Allegations Part of Upcoming Sex Abuse Documentary". Chicago Tribune. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  31. Barnes, Brook. "Suit Accuses Director of New ‘X-Men’ Film of Sexual Assault". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  32. Feldman, Dana; Kelsey, Eric. "'X Men' director hit by sex abuse lawsuit weeks before premiere". Reuters. Retrieved April 18, 2014. 
  33. TIME Video (2014-04-25). "Watch: ‘X-Men’ Director Singer: Sexual Abuse Allegations ‘Outrageous’". TIME. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  34. Detroit Free Press, Saturday, May 24, 2014, Page 2D
  35. "Bryan Singer accuser seeks to withdraw original sex abuse lawsuit against ‘X-Men’ director". NY Daily News. Retrieved October 26, 2014. 
  36. Paunescu, Delia (May 4, 2014). "New Sexual-Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Singer". Vulture. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  37. Marshall, Rick (September 8, 2010). "First Look at January Jones As Emma Frost In 'X-Men: First Class'". MTV (Viacom). Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  38. Fischer, Russ (September 23, 2009). "Bryan Singer Tackles Jack the Giant Killer For New Line". /Film. Retrieved October 28, 2009. 
  39. "Bryan Singer Officially Set For X-Men: Days of Future Past". October 30, 2012. 
  40. "Exclusive Green Band Trailer for The Taking of Deborah Logan". September 22, 2014. 
  41. Lesnick, Silas (September 22, 2014). "Bryan Singer Confirmed to Direct X-Men: Apocalypse". Retrieved September 23, 2014. 

External links[edit]