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Exclusive: Director Bryan Singer talks X-men, Man of Steel, Russell Crowe as Wolverine and more!

Aug. 6, 2013by: Paul Shirey

Director Bryan Singer did a Q&A at The Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal this evening and our man, Chris Bumbray, was there to catch all the info he had to spill. During the Q&A, Singer talked a great many things, including his feelings on MAN OF STEEL, the tone and timeframe of X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, Russell Crowe's stipulation to playing Wolverine, and much, much more. Singer also played the same trailer that he premiered at Comic Con this year, which you can read a full description of here (Bumbray's take was similar to mine, though, saying "Trailer was scored with inception music - looks amazing, and hugely epic, more than any comic book movie that we've ever seen except maybe THE AVENGERS").

Here's the bullet points from the Q&A, which are pretty damn interesting:

  • X-MEN films somewhere between THE DARK KNIGHT and Marvel movies.
  • Before starting first X-MEN watched all 70 episodes of animated series
  • Release schedule moved up six months on first film, which led to a few unpleasant moments.
  • On Man of Steel: Very different film.  A total reconception of the Donner films. 
  • Brushed off suggestions Man of Steel had no charm. "Henry Cavill is pretty charming."
  • His super-sequel (to his SUPERMAN RETURNS) would have been a bit like Man of Steel with an alien threat.
  • Loved working with with Tom Cruise. "Great guy. Very deferential to directors"
  • On STAR TREK:  Thinks he's too big a fan to ever do one. Would be too precious. Thinks Abrams is better for that.
  • On TRICK R TREAT (which he produced): Very proud of it. Would love to do a "suspenseful horror" like Exorcist.
  • On JACK THE GIANT SLAYER: Shrugged off suggestions it was creatively compromised. The studio didn't do a great job distributing it but he's proud of the film.

  • X-Men DOFP: Shot in native 3D.
  • X-Men DOFP: No Scarlet Witch.
  • X-Men DOFP: William Stryker will be in the film with Josh Helman playing him.
  • X-Men DOFP: Not the brightest X-Men movie, but it has a good message, trying to right wrongs. 
  • X-Men DOFP: Most of the movie takes place in 1973. Future segments are 10 years after X3.
  • X-Men DOFP: You find the characters in very different places that you saw them in First Class. Shows then becoming who they have to be.
  • Remembers Russell Crowe saying he'd play Wolverine - but only if he could play him bald. Didn't work.
  • Thoughts on Cyclops demise in X3: Wishes he could bring him back. Wasn't happy with that choice. Could justify bringing Xavier back because he transferred his consciousness and could possibly construct a body around that consciousness. Was however, happy about some things- like the casting of Ellen Page.
  • On any Marvel movies he'd like to make: "IRON MAN so I could finally buy that house I always wanted or a plane." Seriously though, has an idea for a Marvel Universe mash up he didn't want to reveal.
  • Once had a bad editing experience because he wasn't working with John Ottman. Wouldn't reveal the film (but it seems the first X-MEN was the only one Ottman didn't edit) but had such a big fight with the editor, that he smashed a bottle on the wall and was locked out of the editing room for three days. 
  • Are superhero movies a trend or here to stay? Believes they are our modern day mythology- our generation's King Arthur. Lots of fun to reinvent and Will be around for a long time. 

Tons of info from Mr. Singer, who was forthcoming and respectable during the Q&A (which was open to the public at no charge). All in all, based on Singer's comments here and the footage that both Bumbray and I have seen for X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, it feels like the director may have finally graduated into the big leagues with the latest sequel, as it finally taps into the epic mythology of the characters. There are doubters among us, and rightly so, but based on what we've seen and heard from Singer this is stacking up to be the best of the X-films to date.

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is set for release on May 23, 2014.

Extra Tidbit: A bald Wolverine? Really, Russell Crowe?
Source: JoBlo.com

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12:54AM on 08/07/2013
I was there last night. Interesting things were said. The trailer shown didn't blow my mind, but it looks good. If you liked X-Men 1 and 2 and First Class, then I think we're in safe hands with this next one. There seems to be enough to please fans of both old and new X-Men (movies anyway).
But what surprises me is the hate Singer is getting... Let's see:
- The Usual Suspects, GOOD
- Apt Pupil, GOOD
- X-men 1 & 2, GOOD GOOD
- Superman Returns? I personally didn't like it as much as I would
I was there last night. Interesting things were said. The trailer shown didn't blow my mind, but it looks good. If you liked X-Men 1 and 2 and First Class, then I think we're in safe hands with this next one. There seems to be enough to please fans of both old and new X-Men (movies anyway).
But what surprises me is the hate Singer is getting... Let's see:
- The Usual Suspects, GOOD
- Apt Pupil, GOOD
- X-men 1 & 2, GOOD GOOD
- Superman Returns? I personally didn't like it as much as I would have liked, but overall is still a decent movie. But strangely I have noticed that since Men Of Steel came out, it now seems to be "cool" to not like the first 2 Superman movies.
- Valkyrie? Good enough. Would have been much better if the German spoke German though!
- Jack the Giant Slayer, I haven't seen, it doesn't look too good mostly because of the CGI. But I know that movie is a kid's movie done as somewhat of an homage to Ray Harryhausen type of films.

Let's not forget, Singer did write the story for First Class too. You all like that movie, right?

I rest my case.
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11:59AM on 08/07/2013
No, we all didn't like First Class. That movie was all kinds of suck. Here's why:

-Those were not the original Xmen members.
-In the first Xmen (directed by Singer) Xavior and Magneto both worked on Cerebro together. In first class, Beast already had Cerebro built before Xavior even arrived.
- Alex is suppose to be Cyclop's brother right? How is he 40 years older than Cyclops, LMAO.
- Emma Frost was not only laughable, but also annoying. Also, not that good looking. Alice Eve would of
No, we all didn't like First Class. That movie was all kinds of suck. Here's why:

-Those were not the original Xmen members.
-In the first Xmen (directed by Singer) Xavior and Magneto both worked on Cerebro together. In first class, Beast already had Cerebro built before Xavior even arrived.
- Alex is suppose to be Cyclop's brother right? How is he 40 years older than Cyclops, LMAO.
- Emma Frost was not only laughable, but also annoying. Also, not that good looking. Alice Eve would of been a better choice.
- Xavier said in the first movie that Magneto built his helmet. In first class, it shows he took it from Sebastian Shaw.
-The best parts of the movie was Charles and Xavior's relationship. They just breezed through that like it was nothing.
-If Mystique grew up with Charles, how come in Xmen 1 and 2 she doesn't even know him?
11:18PM on 08/07/2013
If you read what I said concerning First Class, I did say "You all like that movie, right?". Meaning for the most part I myself didn't like it too much for mostly the same reasons as you (Petey). A lot of First Class didn't respect "continuity" in the X-Men film universe.
I think at the time, First Class was supposed to be more of a reboot than a direct sequel. That is what I think the initial plan was. With DOFP, I think Singer will finally be able to do the X-Men movie he's been wanting to
If you read what I said concerning First Class, I did say "You all like that movie, right?". Meaning for the most part I myself didn't like it too much for mostly the same reasons as you (Petey). A lot of First Class didn't respect "continuity" in the X-Men film universe.
I think at the time, First Class was supposed to be more of a reboot than a direct sequel. That is what I think the initial plan was. With DOFP, I think Singer will finally be able to do the X-Men movie he's been wanting to direct since he started working on the very first X-Men movie.

Now, that said. First Class in and of itself, is still a good movie. If it was the reboot/relaunch (call it was you will) it was supposed to be, it's a good enough X-Men movie. And let's face it, most people really liked that movie and started hating on Singer's first two X-Men films, for some weird reason... And not knowing Singer wrote the First Class they like.
-7
9:20PM on 08/06/2013
Any of you actually think Super Man Returns was a good movie then that's your right, but the generally consensus is the movie sucked all kinds of ass. Nothing you guys say will change that. If it was so good, why did the studio not give him a sequel and instead choose to go a completely different route with Man of Steel? The best part of any of his previous Xmen movies were the Nightcrawler scene and the Magneto origins scene. His version of Sabre-tooth is as laughable as Schumacher's Bane and
Any of you actually think Super Man Returns was a good movie then that's your right, but the generally consensus is the movie sucked all kinds of ass. Nothing you guys say will change that. If it was so good, why did the studio not give him a sequel and instead choose to go a completely different route with Man of Steel? The best part of any of his previous Xmen movies were the Nightcrawler scene and the Magneto origins scene. His version of Sabre-tooth is as laughable as Schumacher's Bane and Mister Freeze.

That Sentinel is horrible looking. Kinda of campy and cheap
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12:34AM on 08/07/2013
Now I am not saying Schumacher's Batman was a good movie. Somewhat entertaining? Yes. Good? No. BUT Schumacher's Bane was much better than Nolan's.
Also, Singer's X-Men movies were good movies. Don't forget than in 2000 when the first X-Men came out, it didn't have as much budget as super hero movies do nowadays. The guy did a really good job with what he had, and how he told the story was good. Again, you have to take into consideration when that movie was made. And you can "thank" his X-Men
Now I am not saying Schumacher's Batman was a good movie. Somewhat entertaining? Yes. Good? No. BUT Schumacher's Bane was much better than Nolan's.
Also, Singer's X-Men movies were good movies. Don't forget than in 2000 when the first X-Men came out, it didn't have as much budget as super hero movies do nowadays. The guy did a really good job with what he had, and how he told the story was good. Again, you have to take into consideration when that movie was made. And you can "thank" his X-Men movies for really opening the flood gates for all the ones we are getting nowadays.
+1
5:47PM on 08/06/2013
I know it became cool to hate on Singer - so many actors and directors get this treatment - if you don't die the hero you probably will end up living long enough to become the villain - definitely springs to mind. However, outside of the X-Men efforts, Superman Returns and Giant Slayer, I have not seen anything else from Singer - and I'm not sure why he got the bad rep he got. Let me be first to say that I've yet to see a comic book that really blew me away on a level that something like
I know it became cool to hate on Singer - so many actors and directors get this treatment - if you don't die the hero you probably will end up living long enough to become the villain - definitely springs to mind. However, outside of the X-Men efforts, Superman Returns and Giant Slayer, I have not seen anything else from Singer - and I'm not sure why he got the bad rep he got. Let me be first to say that I've yet to see a comic book that really blew me away on a level that something like Aliens or Terminator 2 (even Speed) did for me...but I've certainly enjoyed many - I've enjoyed all the X-Men movies. Superman Returns wasn't great - but it was very far from bad - okay would sum it up - the movie gets special points from me for the plane save scene - if I'd have been at the baseball ground - I'd have got up...punched the air and gone frack yeh! Brilliant scene (and such a scene was lacking in Man of Steel!). I saw Giant Slayer with my 10 year old...and I'm pretty sure we both weren't alone in enjoying the movie. Anywayz, everything I've read about DOFP has me confidently hoping for the best. It seems like this will be the best X-Men movie by far (yet to see Wolverine due to Ramadan commitments). However, after being as let down as badly as I was after watching Man of Steel (going in to the movie believing the third full trailer was the best trailer I'd ever seen - saw it a billion times before watching the movie), I'll be more cautious. I do sincerely hope Singer knocks it out of the park!
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1:26PM on 08/06/2013
The name's Gambit! Remember it!
The name's Gambit! Remember it!
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+6
12:50PM on 08/06/2013
Whoa, there are a lot of negative, whiny trolls on this board lately. What happened, been kicked out of AICN? However I like everything I read about the upcoming X-men movie so far and Singer has been done a pretty good job with that franchise before. Dont like it? Then just head back to those sunday morning cartoons.
Whoa, there are a lot of negative, whiny trolls on this board lately. What happened, been kicked out of AICN? However I like everything I read about the upcoming X-men movie so far and Singer has been done a pretty good job with that franchise before. Dont like it? Then just head back to those sunday morning cartoons.
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2:00PM on 08/06/2013
I've noticed that too. Kind of why I don't come here as often as I used to.
I've noticed that too. Kind of why I don't come here as often as I used to.
12:28PM on 08/06/2013

Crowe as Old Man Logan

Remembers Russell Crowe saying he'd play Wolverine - but only if he could play him bald. Didn't work.
Think that would be great choice for Old Man Logan movie.
Remembers Russell Crowe saying he'd play Wolverine - but only if he could play him bald. Didn't work.
Think that would be great choice for Old Man Logan movie.
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9:33AM on 08/06/2013
I've got nothing bad to say about Bryan Singer. I have enjoyed all his movies. Even Superman Returns, which I think gets unfairly maligned. I'd like to see tat one on the Unpopular Opinion. It really wasn't bad, and i found it entertaining.
I've got nothing bad to say about Bryan Singer. I have enjoyed all his movies. Even Superman Returns, which I think gets unfairly maligned. I'd like to see tat one on the Unpopular Opinion. It really wasn't bad, and i found it entertaining.
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12:28PM on 08/06/2013
i couldnt agree more. a modern day superman with the original williams score. whats not to like about that????
i couldnt agree more. a modern day superman with the original williams score. whats not to like about that????
8:25AM on 08/06/2013
Every article I read just builds up my anticipation for this film. There's really no reason at this point why we should doubt Singer in delivering us another great X-Men film. So far he has delivered three times already and I see no reason why Days of Future Past would be nothing but great.

Regarding Cyclops, I'm still convinced Singer is keeping his appearance in this a secret since Marsden has been spotted on set and since this is the biggest X-Men film to date, there's no way you don't
Every article I read just builds up my anticipation for this film. There's really no reason at this point why we should doubt Singer in delivering us another great X-Men film. So far he has delivered three times already and I see no reason why Days of Future Past would be nothing but great.

Regarding Cyclops, I'm still convinced Singer is keeping his appearance in this a secret since Marsden has been spotted on set and since this is the biggest X-Men film to date, there's no way you don't use his character in some shape or form.
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4:34AM on 08/06/2013

nice sentinel...

What is that a dyson fan in its chest and armor plating that conveniently leaves the stupid looking tubes on the inner legs unprotected? I can tell from this crappy sentinel design that this movie will suck. Check out the nimrod sentinels in Second Coming or the sentinels in the Wolverine and the X-men cartoon or the sentinels during Civil War that watched over the X-mansion. These are some of the worst sentinels I have ever seen. He watched the animated series? They were good when I was
What is that a dyson fan in its chest and armor plating that conveniently leaves the stupid looking tubes on the inner legs unprotected? I can tell from this crappy sentinel design that this movie will suck. Check out the nimrod sentinels in Second Coming or the sentinels in the Wolverine and the X-men cartoon or the sentinels during Civil War that watched over the X-mansion. These are some of the worst sentinels I have ever seen. He watched the animated series? They were good when I was 10 but after watching them recently they have become pretty predictable in action sequences and sound bytes (JEANNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). Try Wolverine and the X-men cartoon instead you asshole who single-handedly destroyed X-men in cinema.
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6:42AM on 08/06/2013
Get back to after you have finished building an actual 20 foot tall working robot, asshole!
Get back to after you have finished building an actual 20 foot tall working robot, asshole!
9:13PM on 08/06/2013
If he had 10 million dollars like Singer was given, I'm sure anyone can build that. It does look like shit.
If he had 10 million dollars like Singer was given, I'm sure anyone can build that. It does look like shit.
-26
4:30AM on 08/06/2013

Bullshit...let me count the ways...

1. Anyone who uses Inception music explaining their current movie is a douchebag.
2. IF Singer ACTUALLY watched the animated X-Men series before shooting the original than he obviously learned NOTHING. Speaks volumes.
3. Makes generic excuses for the worst parts of X-Men (1).
4. Makes Man of Steel breaking away from Donner sound like a BAD thing which inherently makes his idiotic adherence to Donner seem like a good thing? In his own mind maybe.
5. Shouldn't be proud of Jack but still is.
1. Anyone who uses Inception music explaining their current movie is a douchebag.
2. IF Singer ACTUALLY watched the animated X-Men series before shooting the original than he obviously learned NOTHING. Speaks volumes.
3. Makes generic excuses for the worst parts of X-Men (1).
4. Makes Man of Steel breaking away from Donner sound like a BAD thing which inherently makes his idiotic adherence to Donner seem like a good thing? In his own mind maybe.
5. Shouldn't be proud of Jack but still is. Like all the crap he's done.
6. Basterdizing the Days of Future Past story to do his own thing while capitalizing on whatever he wants to use and abuse.
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6:54AM on 08/06/2013
1. Anyone complaining about the music in a trailer is a douchebag.
2. Get back to us when you have filmed your own X-Men movie and grossed upwards of $100 000 000.
3. Best part of X-Men: Halle Berry's boobs. Worst part of X-Men: Halle Berry's acting.
4. "Different" does not mean "bad".
5. Did you actually go see Jack the Giant Slayer? It was a KID'S MOVIE.
6. Actually when Singer went back and established the X-Men as starting in the early sixties he redeemed himself. He's also using
1. Anyone complaining about the music in a trailer is a douchebag.
2. Get back to us when you have filmed your own X-Men movie and grossed upwards of $100 000 000.
3. Best part of X-Men: Halle Berry's boobs. Worst part of X-Men: Halle Berry's acting.
4. "Different" does not mean "bad".
5. Did you actually go see Jack the Giant Slayer? It was a KID'S MOVIE.
6. Actually when Singer went back and established the X-Men as starting in the early sixties he redeemed himself. He's also using DOFP to establish a new timeline that branches off from 1973. That means we will see new actors playing Scott, Jean and Storm in future movies. It'll basically be a reboot.
3:06AM on 08/06/2013
I'm surprised this movie doesn't have 'Wolverine' in the title somewhere.
I'm surprised this movie doesn't have 'Wolverine' in the title somewhere.
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2:53AM on 08/06/2013

Cyclops has been so screwed....

By every X-MEN movie to date. Its total shit. He is far and away the most underutilized main character in the mythos and has some amazing character arcs, especially in the modern iterations of the comics. He becomes colder, much more calculating in his actions and becomes a sort of Professor X/Magneto hybrid. Someone who will still protect humanity but is not afraid of defending mutants with more potent action. And he is the only character in the mythos who lands both Jean Grey and Emma Frost.
By every X-MEN movie to date. Its total shit. He is far and away the most underutilized main character in the mythos and has some amazing character arcs, especially in the modern iterations of the comics. He becomes colder, much more calculating in his actions and becomes a sort of Professor X/Magneto hybrid. Someone who will still protect humanity but is not afraid of defending mutants with more potent action. And he is the only character in the mythos who lands both Jean Grey and Emma Frost. I mean come on.....
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6:57AM on 08/06/2013
Wolverine, in the comics, landed Mariko, Yukio and Tiger Tiger. At least it was implied that he did.
Wolverine, in the comics, landed Mariko, Yukio and Tiger Tiger. At least it was implied that he did.
8:27AM on 08/06/2013
Cyclops really does become the ultimate Badass. He has always been one of my favorite X-Men and comic book characters of all time and it sucks how he hasn't had a bigger part in the films.
Cyclops really does become the ultimate Badass. He has always been one of my favorite X-Men and comic book characters of all time and it sucks how he hasn't had a bigger part in the films.
12:17PM on 08/06/2013
I can't agree with you more. I'm hoping they bring Cyclops back near the resolution, or in a post-credits scene, or something. There is so much to explore in the character, it's ridiculous not to.
I can't agree with you more. I'm hoping they bring Cyclops back near the resolution, or in a post-credits scene, or something. There is so much to explore in the character, it's ridiculous not to.
2:43AM on 08/06/2013
Only reason I'm neutral on this is because Cyclops died off screen and I doubt most people even remember what caused it, I kind of just remember Cyclops strolling around a river somewhere and then suddenly turns around with a shocked look on his face and a bright light or something, cut scene and we never see or hear what happened to him. Why would this be hard to explain but the bs answer he just gave about Charles Xavier somehow makes sense? I think we can all think of 3 ways to bring him
Only reason I'm neutral on this is because Cyclops died off screen and I doubt most people even remember what caused it, I kind of just remember Cyclops strolling around a river somewhere and then suddenly turns around with a shocked look on his face and a bright light or something, cut scene and we never see or hear what happened to him. Why would this be hard to explain but the bs answer he just gave about Charles Xavier somehow makes sense? I think we can all think of 3 ways to bring him back that would be better than the reason he came up with for Professor X.

Still think this is going to be a good movie though, as far X-Men films go.
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2:54AM on 08/06/2013
Could be he is bringing Cyclops back but is keeping it a surprise.
Could be he is bringing Cyclops back but is keeping it a surprise.
4:19AM on 08/06/2013
Singer didn't come up with anything. Xavier's return was explained in the same exact film he died in.
Singer didn't come up with anything. Xavier's return was explained in the same exact film he died in.
4:20AM on 08/06/2013
Singer didn't come up with anything. Xavier's return was explained in the same exact film he died in.
Singer didn't come up with anything. Xavier's return was explained in the same exact film he died in.
2:38AM on 08/06/2013
i'm just happy that superhero movies 'Willie' around for a long time! :-P
i'm just happy that superhero movies 'Willie' around for a long time! :-P
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+14
1:43AM on 08/06/2013

Screw the haters, I've got confidence in him.

Singer is 3 for 3 with his X-films so far (directed X1, diected X2 and wrote and produced First Class) so why would drop the ball on the 4th one?
Singer is 3 for 3 with his X-films so far (directed X1, diected X2 and wrote and produced First Class) so why would drop the ball on the 4th one?
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1:23AM on 08/06/2013
I think he knows what he's doing, so cautious optimism is the rule of the day. That does sound like a great Q&A session and Singer does seem on the whole like a thoughtful and intelligent director.
I think he knows what he's doing, so cautious optimism is the rule of the day. That does sound like a great Q&A session and Singer does seem on the whole like a thoughtful and intelligent director.
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1:06AM on 08/06/2013
I just want this movie to come out so I can stop reading news stories about it that make me disappointed and angry. At this point I don't care if it's good or bad I just hate hearing about it.
Addendum: How could you watch all 70 episodes of the animated series and then butcher continuity the way he has?
I just want this movie to come out so I can stop reading news stories about it that make me disappointed and angry. At this point I don't care if it's good or bad I just hate hearing about it.
Addendum: How could you watch all 70 episodes of the animated series and then butcher continuity the way he has?
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2:39AM on 08/06/2013
also, he must have missed 6 episodes, there were 76 episodes in the Animated Series...
also, he must have missed 6 episodes, there were 76 episodes in the Animated Series...
4:38AM on 08/06/2013
He acts like the animated series inspired him but none of his movies are even remotely based on any of the story lines from the series. As much as I dislike the art direction, dialogue, and action sequences of the animated series now that I have matured; I do still admire the story lines and general direction it took.
He acts like the animated series inspired him but none of his movies are even remotely based on any of the story lines from the series. As much as I dislike the art direction, dialogue, and action sequences of the animated series now that I have matured; I do still admire the story lines and general direction it took.
12:37AM on 08/06/2013
I'm excited to see the outcome of "Days of Future Past." So far, it seems like Singer is bringing his A-game.
I'm excited to see the outcome of "Days of Future Past." So far, it seems like Singer is bringing his A-game.
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