SAN DIEGO COMIC CON 2000
Director Bryan Singer
Capacity crowd awaits Bryan
Singer, the man behind one of the greatest comic book hero
adventures to hit the big screen in years. He walks inÖthe crowd goes
nuts. Standing ovation all around. Singer himself is a non-intimidating
fellow, looks a lot like a guy still hanging on to his twenties, a
Beastie Boy, if you will. The questions begin:
How long have you been
I started making 8mm films when I was
13, so Iíve been directing for 21 years.
the deal on the sequel?
Weíre talking about it. But there
are very unusual circumstances because of the very compressed
post-production schedule on the release date, I genuinely finished this
filmÖthree weeks ago? So there hasnít been a lot of time to
deliberate that, so weíre just starting to talk about it.
Whatís the deal with
the apparent 15-45 minutes which you apparently cut out of the film?
No, no, no. Someone said to me the
other day, I heard the studio made you cut like 40 minutes last week and
I was like "wow, that would be an unusual thing to have to cut, you
know just- pow, take it all out!" No, what we did is, we had a very
short amount of time to edit it so in the first five weeks of editing, I
was editing on Sundays in Toronto when I wasnít shooting, and what
started off as two hours or so, started getting pared down by certain
scenes, but it was a normal editing editing process which took place
from about the 5-week point to about the 8-10 week point.
I donít think that it was 45
minutes, but maybe something like 20 minutes, shaved off or reduced,
there are bits missing, but when youíre shooting a movie, itís very
rare that you actually use al the scenes that you shoot. I mean, some
films come in at about 4 hours and get down to about an hour and a half
This one was pretty tight and I ended
up losing some stuff, but no, the studio didnít come in and say
"cut". They were on the same page as the kind of movie that we
were making, and there was none of that.
Considering how late
he came into production, I was curious as to which scene was the first
I have a terrible memory for the order
of things. I could sing any Beatlesí song, but I couldnít tell you
what year it was recorded. <asks his producer> The lab. The scene
in the lab when he wakes up, when Jean Grey comes in and he springs up,
and runs in the hallway.
Having never worked
with special effects before, was it hard for you to direct this film?
No, surprisingly no. I mean, I did a
lot of research in the world of special effects. In fact, I was on the
set of Phantom Menace when they were shooting in London, I also visited
Titanic and spent some time with those filmmakers. Iíve also grown up
loving genre movies and so basically, itís applied imagination. You
sort of come up with an idea and you say "can or canít we do
it" and you learn very quickly, what can or canít be done.
Did you do
introduction scenes for Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm? Also, is there a
chance that this might on a DVD in time for Christmas? <crowd
We didnít shoot those. In a draft of
the script there was a flashback Storm, and there
was a flashback for Cyclops, but they didnít fit in, and I ultimately
decided to go with Magneto and Rogue
because they were pinnacle characters, who were driving the story
forward. But we discussed, possibly some additionsÖI donít know
about Christmas, this was just a preliminary discussion that we just
had, something fun to do, but weíre not sure yetÖthat would be the
I noticed that the
special effects in the movie were more sudden, in a way, more realistic,
as opposed to something like the Matrix. How did you direct the actors
in that respect during the production?
Mike Fink, my special effects
supervisor and I basically agreed that since we were mixing real effects
with live actors, they should be as elegant as possible. And also, my
cinematographer, Tom Siegel, brought a very textured and very rich
lighting design, so that we would need our visual effects to kind of
celebrate that. So there were a lot of talks about keeping things fluid,
seamless and elegant. And I really credit them, especially Mike Fink,
for his quality maintenance in the area of special effects.
Matrix had a different kind of vision,
that was a world where anything goes, so people could sort of
freeze in mid-air and things like that. Here things were taking place in
the real world and there were many different mutations so we basically
went to eight different visual effects houses, each one was in charge of
a particular mutantís power, like Mystique or what happened to Senator
Kelly. So that we could have them focus and dedicate all of their
energies to that one effect. As opposed to having a movie where there
very many similar effects. We sort of spread it out, that way, each
effects house could take pride in, like Toadís tongue for instance.
I heard that you had
considered using Beast in this one. Who were some of the characters that
you would consider bringing in, other than Beast, or even him, if you
were to direct a sequel? <crowd screams Gambit>
I want Gambit. In fact, I almost had
Gambit as a young boy on the basketball field, but the fear was that if
he held the basketball, then released it and then it exploded, which was
the idea, then people would be like "whatís wrong with those
basketballs?". That is, people who werenít fans or didnít know
the characters. But Gambit and Beast are two characters that I missed
terribly. Beast was in the script for a while but then when you have
Mystique thatís nine hours make-up and all of these challenges, you
have to choose your battles, so perhaps those characters.
If you had more time,
would you have done anything differently, or are you 100% satisfied with
the way things came out?
very satisfied with the film. Naturally, I would loved to have had more
time. It was very difficult trying to split myself between many places
at the same time and try to finish the movie quickly, and also maintain
the level of quality that we were going for. It was very challenging and
difficult and I hurt my neck too, halfway through shooting, so I was
always in pain every day. I would have liked more time if I was to do it
again, but no, I donít believe that anything was either sacrificed or
harmed, thank goodness. In fact, there are some wonderful blessings that
occur when youíre forced to be effective.
I thought you did a
much better job of portraying Toad in the film, than the comic book ever
did, probably ones of the worst villains ever in the comic book. Why
would choose Toad over someone like Quicksilver and secondly, what is up
with the rumor that the studio has already decided to use Apocalypse in
the next film?
Iíve never heard those rumors
before. But Toad, well, I simply got obsessed with Toad after looking at
the early comics, and once I started the casting process, and then got
Ray Park involved, I started thinking, well Toad can now be a lot more
vicious. Less of a jester and more of a killer. I also liked the idea of
Toad against Storm, but Toad needed more weapons, so the tongue evolved
and other things like that. And then they grew and grew from there.
Wolverine and JoBlo
At this point, the capacity crowd was
lucky enough to be shown some cool outtake BLOOPERS from the movie. The
first one was during the Wolverine driving the truck scene, smoking his
cigar. He opens his window to find a flying super hero coming next to
his window. It's director Bryan Singer all dressed up.
The second one is a serious scene
between Professor X and Wolverine after he pierces Rogue. As Professor X
is leading himself out of the room in his wheelchair (a very quiet
moment), he accidentally knocks himself into the door. Pretty funny!
But the funniest one was during one of
the later battle scenes where Cyclops, Storm and Wolverine are preparing
to attack. As they move forward, they see someone join them from the
corner of their eyes. It's SPIDERMAN! All dressed and ready to attack.
They all crack up.
Did you feel a lot of
pressure making this movie?
Actually, thatís one of the last
things that one thinks about when shooting a
mean, sure you take into
account the whole comic book universe, but at the same time, you want to
be able to be accessible to all the people who donít understand or
might not be familiar with the comic, so you think about those things,
but you donít think about the pressure. Yeah, the pressureís quite
enormous, especially when you read stuff about FOX relying on the film
to launch a franchise, and you just try to ignore them and make a good
Question about the
cameos. Is the kid with the blue hair supposed to be Collussus?
UuuuuuuuhmmÖ..no. Collussus, is at
the very beginning of a shot, where the boy runs across the water.
is teleporting kid, Nightcrawler?
Not necessarily. Nightcrawler is blue
with a tail and kinda sticks out <audience laughs>. Heís just
teleporting kid <audience laughs again>. And theyíre triplets,
by the way, we used triplets to actually do that.
Is the gag reel that
we just saw gonna be on the DVD?
Possibly, I donít know. Iím gonna
have to think about that <audience claps>. I just donít want to
make fun of it. This isnít an "Airplane" movie or anything.
But there are good bloopers. On most of my other films, USUAL SUSPECTS
and APT PUPIL, we always had good bloopers but we moved so fast through
editing that we didnít unfortunately cut a good "gag"
reel" for the cast and crew and stuff. Iím gonna have to think
Oh lookÖitís Wolverine!
<A guy looking exactly like Wolvie
stands up in the crowd>
First of all, I want
to thank you for putting in all of the cool cameosÖ
Well, the real person to thank for
that is Tom DeSanto <audience claps>. Not only for suggesting a
lot of those things, but for also guiding me through the process and
through this amazing world of which heís been a fan of for decades.
How long have you been
reading the X-Men comics, or comics in general? Have you always been a
fan? Seems to be that you would have to be to get it all so right.
Well, as a matter of factÖ<audience
laughs>, I never read comics growing up at all. I liked
science-fiction, fantasy, and watched a lot of television, but I never
read comics. About three and a half years ago, Tom suggested that I take
a look at X-Men, I did, and I found it incredibly fascinating, so I
began to read, began to read the character biographies, began to read
the comics, I watched al 70 episodes of the animated series, and really
familiarized myself. So basically Iíve been reading X-Men for about
three and a half years, but Iím much more of a contemporary fan.
But people like Laura Shura-Donner,
the producer, these people have been fans for many many years, and it
was nice that I could bring in a fresh filmmakerís perspective, as
someone who has just fallen in love with X-Men. And what would make
other people who didnít know it, fall in love with it just like I did.
And as far as the lore goes, I could always have them as a checks and
balances system as collaborators.
I donít want to
knock the movie or anything because I really liked the movie butÖ
But I noticed that
Wolverine didnít know who Sabretooth was, and Iíve always known that
he knew him since he was Weapon X.
Well, remember that Wolverine, Logan
has no memory. That relationship can be explored later, in that old grey
area, that he has no recollection of, which the movieís finale sort of
gives way to.
How did you come
around to casting Darth Maul as Toad?
Actually, it was very strange because
I was on the set of Phantom Menace and it was the day that they were
shooting the battle scene between Ewan and Liam Neeson and Ray Park. And
I remember turning to Lucas and saying "who is that guy in the red
head and the horns?", and he said "thatís the villain".
But I was never introduced to him, never met him, I mean, I watched him
fight for a while, thought it was neat. And then a while later, after I
had seen the Phantom Menace, and enjoyed some of the fighting stuff that
he had done, I wanted to meet with him, so he came in, and we just took
it from there.
After the interview
session, Bryan was rushed downstairs (bodyguards in tow) to the Marvel
booth, nice enough to sign a few hundred autographs for his adoring
fans. The man sparked NEW LIFE into the comic book hero movie genre, so
he deserves every bit of success that he is receiving. Good stuff, dude!
DIEGO COMIC CON 2000
by day coverage by JoBlo and The Arrow
EXCLUSIVE new scenes from HOLLOW MAN
SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE / Director E. Elias Merhige / Behind the Scenes
X-MEN / Director Bryan Singer / Q& A Session
CROW 3 movie reviews / Panel with star Eric Mabius and producer Jeff
Harry Knowles: who is he, where did he come from and how did he get so
MAN featurette / Paul Verhoeven Interview
The Official JoBlo/Comic Con PHOTO GALLERY!!!