Director Bryan Singer Discusses X-Men: First Class
03.21.10 by BJSprecher
Director Bryan Singer was practically a hero himself to comic book fans following the debut of the X-Men movie, a fairly faithful — except for the costumes — adaptation of one of the most beloved and perennially best-selling Marvel Comics titles. His follow-up, X2: X-Men United, was even better received by the critical comic book audience, and an even bigger hit at the box office, ensuring a sequel. However, rather than continue to guide "Marvel's Merry Mutants," Singer decided to jump ship and helm the reboot of the Superman franchise, Superman Returns.
While Singer's absence from the X-Men didn't seem to hurt its sales — the Brett Ratner-directed X-Men: The Last Stand made more than X2 at both the domestic and international box offices — his homage to Richard Donner's Superman was a flop, costing $270 million to produce and taking in only $200 million at the domestic box office. The movie also damaged his credibility in the comic book community for his portrayal of Superman as a "Super-stalker," and for abandoning comic book continuity by giving Lois Lane Superman's love-child.
Whether because his last movie, the Tom Cruise-led WWII thriller Valkyrie, was also a disappointment at the box office, because he wasn't invited back for the next Superman movie, or because he hopes to repair his damaged reputation among comic book fans, Singer has once again found his way back to the X-Men. Singer may eventually direct X-Men 4, but for now he is taking the helm of X-Men: First Class, a prequel to X-Men that focuses on the formative years of the characters. In a recent interview with the L.A. Times, Singer said that First Class will not just focus on the young mutants, but be very much about the yin-yang relationship of the patriarchs of the two camps of mutants.
Just doing younger mutants is not enough. The story needs to be more than that. I love the relationship between Magneto and Xavier, these two men who have diametrically opposite points of view but still manage to be friends — to a point. They are the ultimate frenemies.
Singer makes no apologies for Superman Returns, but said that he feels more at home in the X-Men "universe," both personally and artistically.
I genuinely like the people, and my personality meshes more with this universe than it does with other universes, I think; I see that now at this point. I feel a connection to the X-Men characters and also the ensemble nature of the films. If you look at Usual Suspects or my last film, Valkyrie, I feel especially comfortable with ensemble juggling. In the space between all the characters you can disguise a central thought that's hidden in all the discourse. I missed that with the singular relationship story of Superman. And, well, it always gives you something to cut to...
While many in Hollywood discount the impact of comic book fans, Singer feels quite the contrary.
Ultimately, the comic book fans are your first core audience, the ones that are going to embrace it and talk about it … or reject it.
Read the entire interview with Bryan Singer and also hear from producer Lauren Shuler Donner.