With millions of dollars on the line, studio executives are taking no chances with the release of their film, X-Men: Days of Future Past. Bryan Singer, director of the 20th Century Fox highly anticipated blockbuster, has been removed and is out of participating in the films press tour in light of recent allegations of engaging in sexual misconduct with a minor.
For someone who is use to being behind the lens, the 48 year-old Singer, who has directed many films including Superman Returns, The Usual Suspects and past installments of the X-Men franchise, has been suddenly thrust into the spotlight with allegations brought against him. Michael F. Egan recently filed charges against Singer claiming that the A-List director sexually assaulted him back in 1999 when he was a 15 year-old aspiring child actor.
As a way to not further cast a negative cloud over the 250-million dollar budgeted film, Singer, in a statement, says that while the allegations brought against him are untrue, he is removing himself from any publicity tours surrounding the release of the film which is slated for a May 23 release. In response to the alleged charges, Singer is calling the actions by Egan defamatory and a sick and twisted shake-down. While he moves forward with addressing the matter and clearing his name, Singer also says he is thankful for the ongoing support of his fans, friends and family.
With court papers filed in the state of Hawaii, Michael F. Egan says in his suit that he was drawn into a sex ring forced to have sexual relations with some of the most powerful Hollywood creative executives in the industry, lured with promises of auditions for acting opportunities. According to the lawsuit, several of the parties were attended by Bryan Singer, who forced Egan into sex and drugs.
Bryan Singer is not the only name being disclosed by Egan. The former actor, now 31, has also identified three others with allegations of sexual abuse of a minor; entertainment executive Garth Ancier, former President of Disney Television David Neuman and theatre producer Gary Goddard. All three men have also denied the allegations. The lawsuit does not specify a total dollar amount, but says Egan is seeking in excess of more than $70,000 from each of the four accused citing intentional infliction and emotional distress among the criminal charges.
With what should have been a celebratory event in the fifth X-Men franchise has quickly and easily turned into a PR nightmare for the studio and all involved in the production. As the fifth installment in the film franchise, X-Men: Days of Future Past has an all-star cast including Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Patrick Stewart. With so much riding on the box-office success of the film, negative press involving sexual allegations of its director is just the kind of publicity Hollywood movie studios try to quell. Studio executives now on damage control are hoping that with Byran Singer removed out of all media engagements, this latest move will hopefully alleviate any further bad press surrounding the film. Meanwhile, Michael F. Egan continues to move forward with his court case.
By Hal Banfield