Singer at the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival in 2015
Bryan Jay Singer|
September 17, 1965
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||Director, producer, writer|
Bryan Jay Singer (born September 17, 1965) is an American film director, film producer, and writer. He is the founder of Bad Hat Harry Productions and has produced or co-produced almost all of the films he has directed.
Singer wrote and directed his first film in 1988 after graduating from university. His next film, Public Access (1993), was a co-winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival. In the mid-1990s, Singer received critical acclaim for directing the neo-noir crime thriller The Usual Suspects (1995), which starred Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Baldwin, and Benicio del Toro. He followed this with another thriller, Apt Pupil (1998), an adaptation of a Stephen King short story about a boy's fascination with a Nazi war criminal.
In the 2000s, he became known for big budget superhero films such as X-Men (2000), for which Singer won the 2000 Saturn Award for Best Direction, its sequel X2 (2003), and Superman Returns (2006). He then directed the World War II historical thriller Valkyrie (2008), co-wrote/co-produced X-Men: First Class (2011), and directed the fantasy adventure film Jack the Giant Slayer (2013), as well as two more X-Men films, X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) and X-Men: Apocalypse (2016). Singer was hired to direct Bohemian Rhapsody, which began filming in September 2017, but was fired on December 4, 2017, due to multiple absences from the production and clashes with actor Rami Malek.
Singer was born in New York City, and was adopted by Grace Sinden, an environmental activist, and Norbert Dave Singer, a corporate executive. He grew up in a Jewish household in West Windsor Township, New Jersey. In his early teens, he started making 8mm films as well as experimenting with photography. He attended West Windsor-Plainsboro High School, graduating in 1984. He studied filmmaking for two years at the School of Visual Arts in New York, and later transferred to the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles where he followed the Critical studies program.
Singer directed a short film in 1988 called Lion's Den involving a number of friends, including actor Ethan Hawke, whom he knew from his childhood in New Jersey, and editor John Ottman, whom he had met while working on a friend's short film. After a screening of Lion's Den, Singer was approached by someone from Tokuma Japan Productions, a Japanese company interested in funding a series of low-budget films. Singer pitched a concept that eventually became the film Public Access (1993). 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 with Ruby in Paradise.
In 1994, he founded the production company Bad Hat Harry Production, in homage to Steven Spielberg and the famous line from Jaws. Singer followed this by directing The Usual Suspects, which was screened out of competition at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival. It was a success, winning Christopher McQuarrie an Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay), and actor Kevin Spacey an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
In 1998, Singer obtained the rights to adapt Stephen King’s novella Apt Pupil, a thriller about an all-American boy discovering that a Nazi war criminal lives in his neighborhood. Singer's film adaptation starred Ian McKellen, Brad Renfro and David Schwimmer.
In the early 2000s, Singer was hoping to direct Confessions of a Dangerous Mind based on the Chuck Barris book of the same name. The film was later directed by George Clooney for Miramax Films with Sam Rockwell in the lead role. In February 2001, Singer was attempting to produce a new Battlestar Galactica television series for Studios USA (now NBC Universal Television Studio) Speaking to BBC News, 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." Singer eventually left the project, which was produced by another team on the Sci Fi Channel.
In mid-2004, Singer was in negotiations to direct X-Men: The Last Stand for Fox, when Singer agreed to direct Superman Returns for Warner Bros.. In consequence, Fox terminated its production deal with Bad Hat Harry Productions, Singer's production company.
Superman Returns was filmed in Australia in 2005, and was released on June 28, 2006. Singer claimed that he had always admired and identified with the character, citing the fact that he and Superman are both orphans, noting that he was inspired by the 1978 film starring Christopher Reeve and the comics of Alex Ross.
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.
On September 10, 2009, it was announced NBC has partnered with Singer and Bryan Fuller to adapt Augusten Burroughs's Sellevision into a series about a fictional home shopping network, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Neither project was ultimately produced.
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, but conflicts between the two projects led to Singer being only a producer and co-screenwriter on First Class, with Matthew Vaughn taking over directorial duties.
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. Singer produced the commercials for the ice cream Magnum Gold, which featured Benicio del Toro. In 2012, Singer was the executive producer alongside Jane Lynch of the short film, Ronny and I, directed by Guy Shalem that screened at Outfest and Cannes. Singer directed another X-Men film, X-Men: Apocalypse, that he also produced and co-wrote with Simon Kinberg, Dan Harris, and Michael Dougherty. Days of Future Past stars Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Jennifer Lawrence, and Evan Peters re-teamed with Singer for Apocalypse.
In 2015, Singer, Bad Hat Harry Productions, and Same Name Productions started to collaborate on a documentary project with Guy Shalem. The documentary was set to explore the Israeli–Palestinian conflict through the vantage point of a dynamic Arab-Israeli activist.
In November 2016, it was announced that Singer would direct in the Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, also producing the film with Jim Beach and Graham King. On December 1, 2017, The Hollywood Reporter reported that 20th Century Fox had temporarily halted production due to the "unexpected unavailability" of Singer, with sources saying that he had failed to return to the set after the Thanksgiving week, leaving producers nervous about the state of production and started discussions about potentially replacing him, at which point cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel stepped in to direct during Singer's absence. Singer's absence was reportedly due to "a personal health matter concerning [him] and his family". However, other sources claimed that the film's lead actor Rami Malek and the crew had grown tired of Singer's behavior, the director having reportedly shown up late to set on multiple occasions, and repeatedly clashing with Malek. On December 4, 2017, Singer was fired as director, with about two weeks remaining in principal photography. 20th Century Fox terminated his Bad Hat Harry Productions deal with the studio. On June 12, 2018, despite this, Singer will still get directorial credit due to a Directors Guild of America ruling that only a sole director can receive credit.
At the end of January 2017, Singer signed on to direct an action adventure pilot in the X-Men Universe from 20th TV and Marvel Television, that pilot being for The Gifted, which would be broadcast on Fox.
Singer served as a producer for the February 2019 film, X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Regarding the filmmaking process for X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Jennifer Lawrence has stated, "[the X-Men movies] have always been fun amidst chaos, and now they were fun with no chaos." According to Inverse, her statements indicate that the less chaotic environment was due to screenwriter Simon Kinberg replacing Singer as director.
Singer is openly bisexual, and has said that growing up Jewish and a sexual minority influenced his movies. In October 2014, it was confirmed he was expecting a child with actress Michelle Clunie. They later had a son.
Sexual abuse allegationsEdit
Apt Pupil lawsuitEdit
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. Two other adolescent boys, 16 and 17 years old, later supported the 14-year-old's claim. The boys claimed trauma from the experience and sought charges against the filmmakers including infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and invasion of privacy. The boys alleged that they were filmed for sexual gratification. A lawsuit was filed but dismissed for insufficient evidence.
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 after meeting him at parties hosted by convicted sex offender Marc Collins-Rector in the late 1990s. Singer's attorney called the allegations "completely fabricated" and said Singer planned to countersue. Singer denied the allegations in a statement calling them "outrageous, vicious, and completely false."
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. 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."
In May 2014, another lawsuit was filed by attorney Jeff Herman on behalf of an anonymous British man. Both 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. The charge against Singer in this case was dismissed, at the accuser's request, in July 2014.
Singer is cited in the 2014 documentary film on child sexual abuse in Hollywood, An Open Secret, although the film makes no specific allegations against him. Author Bret Easton Ellis alleges that two of his former partners have attended underage sex parties hosted by Singer and fellow director Roland Emmerich.
The Weinstein effectEdit
Allegations against Singer were revived following the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations in 2017, as well as those against frequent collaborator Kevin Spacey. His name began floating around following the initial backlash, with commenters linking Singer to a culture of pedophilia in Hollywood. On December 7, 2017, Cesar Sanchez-Guzman filed a lawsuit in Washington State against Singer, alleging that he had been raped by the director in 2003, when he was 17 years old. Singer denied the allegations and removed himself from the public eye. After the lawsuit was announced, the USC School of Cinematic Arts removed Singer's name from its Division of Cinema & Media Studies program, which had previously been called for by students of the school.
|1988||Lion's Den||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Short film|
|1995||The Usual Suspects||Yes||Yes|
|2002||Star Trek: Nemesis||Yes||as Kelly|
|2003||X2||Yes||Executive||Story||Cameo||as a security guard.|
|Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman||Yes||Documentary|
|2007||Color Me Olsen||Yes||Short film|
|Trick 'r Treat||Yes|
|2011||X-Men: First Class||Yes||Story|||
|2013||Jack the Giant Slayer||Yes||Yes|||
|2014||X-Men: Days of Future Past||Yes||Yes||Concept||Cameo||as a man with a small film camera.|
|The Taking of Deborah Logan||Yes|||
|2016||X-Men: Apocalypse||Yes||Yes||Yes||Cameo||as a security guard.|
|2018||Bohemian Rhapsody||Yes||Yes||Fired during production, but credited as film's director.|
|2004–2012||House||Yes (2004)||Executive||Yes||Episodes: "Pilot" (also known as "Everybody Lies") and "Occam's Razor"|
|2006||The Science of Superman||Yes||TV documentary|
|2007||Football Wives||Yes||Yes||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2007–2009||Dirty Sexy Money||Yes|
|2008||Valkyrie: The Plot to Kill Hitler||Yes||TV documentary|
|2012||Mockingbird Lane||Yes||Executive||TV special|
|2015||Battle Creek||Yes (2015)||Executive||Episode: "The Battle Creek Way"|
|2012–2013||H+: The Digital Series||Yes|
|The Usual Suspects
|Jack the Giant Slayer
|X-Men: Days of Future Past
|James Karen||(Deleted scenes)||2|
|The Usual Suspects
|Jack the Giant Slayer
|X-Men: Days of Future Past
|Composer and editor||Public Access
|The Usual Suspects
|Jack the Giant Slayer
|X-Men: Days of Future Past
Awards and nominationsEdit
|1993||Sundance Film Festival||Grand Jury Prize||Public Access||Won|
|Deauville American Film Festival||International Critics' prize||Won|
|1995||Tokyo International Film Festival||Silver prize||The Usual Suspects||Won|
|Seattle International Film Festival||Best Director||Won|
|1996||Empire Awards||Best Newcomer||Won|
|Saturn Award||Best Director||Nominated|
|President's Memorial Award||N/A||Won|
|1999||Saturn Award||Best Director||Apt Pupil||Nominated|
|2001||Empire Awards||Best Director||X-Men||Won|
|Saturn Award||Best Director||Won|
|2002||Prix Nebula||Best Script||Nominated|
|2004||Saturn Award||Best Director||X2||Nominated|
|2007||Empire Awards||Best Director||Superman Returns||Nominated|
|Saturn Award||Best Director||Won|
|2009||Saturn Award||Best Director||Valkyrie||Nominated|
|2015||Saturn Award||Best Director||X-Men: Days of Future Past||Nominated|
|2017||Saturn Award||Best Director||X-Men: Apocalypse||Nominated|
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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.
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