X2 Star Brian Cox Defends Director Bryan Singer Following Allegations

Bryan Singer’s filmmaking career ostensibly came to an end in 2019 after a damning exposé in The Atlantic revisited long-running claims of sexual abuse that can be traced all the way back to the late ‘90s. This has largely soured fans’ relationship with Singer’s first two X-Men films, which hit theaters in the early 2000s. Regardless, X2 star Brian Cox has no regrets about working with Singer, and he reflected on his own experience with the director in a recent interview with Yahoo! Entertainment

Cox appeared in X2 as the film’s main villain, William Stryker, who was originally introduced in Chris Claremont and Brent Anderson’s “God Loves, Man Kills” storyline as a fundamentalist preacher with a military background. Presumably to avoid coming off as anti-religious, the film re-imagined the character as a military scientist. However, the story maintained his virulent hatred for mutantkind. Upon the film’s release in 2003, Cox’s performance was singled out as one of its greatest strengths. But although he was Singer’s first choice for the role, 20th Century Fox had other actors in mind.

“Bryan summoned me to Vancouver where they were filming and said, ‘Look, I want you to be in this, but I have to play the waiting game with Fox, because they want me to employ this guy or that guy,’” said Cox. “I trusted him, and finally he got his way.”

Giving in to Singer seems to have been Fox’s guiding principle during the X-Men franchise’s early-aughts heyday. In 2020, The Hollywood Reporter published a story featuring interviews with several individuals who worked on both the original film and X2. These sources claimed that Fox executives were well aware of Singer’s disturbing behavior at the time. But following the success of X-Men in 2000, they turned a blind eye in the hopes that he would deliver another hit for the studio.

The aforementioned THR piece also described an incident that happened while filming X2’s climax onboard the X-Jet. While reportedly under the influence of a narcotic, Singer directed the scene without the supervision of a stunt coordinator. This resulted in a botched take that somehow left Hugh Jackman “bleeding on camera.” Most of the main cast later staged an intervention for Singer inside his trailer, with Halle Berry famously telling him, “You can kiss my Black a**.” However, Cox now claims that Singer was “under a lot of strain” during the shoot.

“One of his great things was that when he came to a new set, he would have to rethink it,” remembered Cox. “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,” added Cox. “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.”

How do you feel about Brian Cox and his remarks about Singer? Let us know in the comment section below! 

Recommended Reading: Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Vol. 1

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Brian Cox.