Brian Cox Defends Bryan Singer: X-Men Set Pressure, Gifted Director

Brian Cox is sharing praise for Bryan Singer, who cast and directed Cox as Colonel William Stryker in 2003’s “X2: X-Men United.” Singer has been accused of sexual misconduct by several men, and he’s also faced accusations from “X-Men” actors of inappropriate on-set behavior. Halle Berry, who played Storm in Singer’s “X-Men” franchise, told Variety in 2020 that “Bryan’s not the easiest dude to work with.” Berry famously cursed out Singer on set one day and told him to “kiss my Black ass.”

In a new interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Cox said that Singer was “under a lot of strain” during the production of “X2.” Singer’s haphazard behavior often led to scenes being rewritten on the spot.

“One of his great things was that when he came to a new set, he would have to rethink it,” Cox said. “He’d have a thought, and then have to rethink [the scene]. So that was always a difficult transition for him. But once he cracked it, he cracked it very quickly and was able to get on with it.”

“I think he’s an extraordinary director — really, really gifted” Cox added of Singer. “Certainly I will always be grateful to him because he had confidence in me and got me the role. I played a waiting game and it worked.”

Has Singer’s alleged behavior and misconduct tainted the legacy of the “X-Men” franchise? It was a question posed to Wolverine actor Hugh Jackman last month by The Guardian. “You know, that’s a really, really complicated question,” Jackman answered. “There’s a lot of things at stake there.”

“‘X-Men’ was the turning point, I believe, in terms of comic-book movies and I think there’s a lot to be proud of,” Jackman continued. “And there’s certainly questions to be asked and I think they should be asked. But I guess I don’t know how to elegantly answer that. I think it’s complex and ultimately I look back with pride at what we’ve achieved and what momentum that started.”

When asked about reports of Singer’s set behavior, Jackman responded, “[‘X-Men’ was] my first movie in America, you gotta understand; it was all so new to me. I think it’s fair to say that…There are some stories, you know…I think there are some ways of being on set that would not happen now. And I think that things have changed for the better.”

When Berry told Variety that Singer was “not the easiest dude to work with,” she added, “I mean, everybody’s heard the stories…I would sometimes be very angry with him. I got into a few fights with him, said a few cuss words out of sheer frustration. When I work, I’m serious about that. And when that gets compromised, I get a little nutty.”

Cox currently starts on HBO’s Emmy winner “Succession,” which is returning for its fourth season in March. “X2” is now available to stream on Disney+.

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