As Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role as Wolverine, he has also commented on his experience on the set of X-Men with director Bryan Singer.
While it’s true that Jackman is a newcomer to the MCU, he’s no stranger to a comic book film set. In fact, he’s one of the franchise’s earliest stars.
It’s important to remember that X-Men, which was released in 2000, pre-dates Tobey Maguire’s original Spider-Man and paved the way for the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
However, allegations made against X-Men director Bryan Singer have somewhat tarnished the memory of the 2000 film and its subsequent sequels, a reality that Jackman is well aware of.
Hugh Jackman Addresses X-Men Controversy
When asked whether the allegations made against Bryan Singer and his films’ traumatic on-set atmosphere have affected his view of the former X-Men franchise, Jackman admitted to The Guardian that it’s a “complicated question:”
“You know, that’s a really, really complicated question. 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. And there’s certainly questions to be asked and I think they should be asked.”
In recent years, a number of men have accused Bryan Singer of sexual misconduct, some of which were minors at the time. To date, Singer has denied these allegations.
Actors and actresses have also talked about Singerl’s explosive on-set behavior as well, including Jennifer Lawrence who said:
“And I have seen… I mean, I’ve worked with Bryan Singer. I’ve seen emotional men, I’ve seen… the biggest hissy fits I’ve ever seen thrown on set…”
Overall, Jackman’s view of the X-Men films is now “complex,” but even so, he is proud of the “momentum” that they started:
“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.”
Now, this isn’t the first time Jackman has been asked about X-Men‘s distressing on-set atmosphere.
In a previous article from The Hollywood Reporter, the Wolverine star was asked as to whether the reported drug use, tantrums, and Halle Berry’s claim that Singer was “not the easiest dude to work for” was also his experience.
To which, Jackman responded by saying, “I think there are some ways of being on set that would not happen now:”
“This 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.”
As to how things have improved and perhaps how different circumstances were then, the actor explained that there’s less tolerance for “marginalizing, bullying, any oppressive behavior:”
“There’s way less tolerance for disrespectful, marginalizing, bullying, any oppressive behavior. There’s zero tolerance for it now and people will speak out, and I think that’s great.”
The X-Men’s Complex Legacy
The question of whether the abusive actions of someone in power alter how an actor – or the public – views a project is a common one. But, as Hugh Jackman confessed, it’s also a “complicated” one.
For those who experienced on-set trauma, a director’s inexcusable behavior needs to be addressed. However, a director is just one of the countless individuals who work on a film. And, it’s tough to say that the efforts and sacrifice of others should be cast aside because of the actions of one.
For now, the “legacy” of those early Marvel films requires more than one definition.
While the memory of filming X-Men and its sequels is sure to remain complex for those involved, the good news – as Jackman explained – is that things have changed for the better in Hollywood.
Much of that is likely due to actors being able to speak out and hold those behind the camera and in studio offices accountable.
Thankfully, this means Hugh Jackman’s first MCU set will be drastically different than that of his first X-Men, and that just may be the most important way comic book films have improved since 2000.