Bryan Singer talks X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST; how he became director

This week, we’ve already seen a pretty cool cast announcement for Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, as Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage joined the time-hopping superhero sequel. But tiny things that are awesome (and there’s a penis joke in there, that I’m just too decent to use) isn’t all that movie is going to be bringing to the table.

Director Bryan Singer spoke to Collider about the film’s large scope, how he got handed the directing reins, and also the addition of one presidential character,

Singer began by revealing that the film will be kicking off production in exactly two months, but unlike the rapid fire, blink and you miss it, production schedule that Matthew Vaughn had with X-Men: First Class, this time the merry band of mutants are going to be busy for a very long time.

“I start shooting April 15th in Montreal, probably until October.  It’s a big movie.  It’ll be the biggest movie I’ve ever made.”

7 months shooting schedule? Yeesh, that is pretty long, especially when you consider that a number of the stars in the film are currently in pretty high demand (Jennifer Lawrence, come on down!… If you’re not too busy, that is).

Singer is of course not only referring to the production, when he says it’s his biggest movie, there is of course the ever expanding cast list, which will bring back all the principal cast from First Class, but also some cast from the original X-Men trilogy, the first two of which Singer directed while producing the third.

“I got the impression that everyone was kind of excited to come back.  The actors from X-Men: First Class are contracted to, but the ones I’ve spoken to are very enthusiastic.  Jen’s (Jennifer Lawrence) very excited, I’m with Nick (Nicholas Hoult)these past few days and he’s excited, and Hugh [Jackman], Ian [McKellan], Patrick [Stewart], Anna [Paquin]—they remember we felt very good about those first two X-Men films back then and I think there’s a good feeling about all of us working together again, and I’m very excited to work with the new cast members as a director as opposed to just a producer.”

I love the “we felt very good about those first two X-Men films” part. Don’t worry Bryan, we also wish X3: The Last Stand didn’t happen.

And while there are plenty of cast still to be unveiled, Singer revealed that there’s one pretty interesting choice still to be made.

“Part of it takes place in the 1970s.  And Richard Nixon’s in it, that’ll be an interesting casting choice… “

Now having a great cast is completely useless if the story isn’t up to snuff, and that going to be especially challenging as the film will be drawing its inspiration from one of the most beloved X-Men comic stories of all time.

“Well you have to capture the essence of those stories, and if you try to do every single detail that’s in this story, that can be too much for a movie.  But if you can grab the essence of that story and those characters, and then realize it’s a movie it’s not a comic book so there are certain parameters that are different, it’ll still be satisfying to fans and non-fans.”

“…There’ll also be some more science-fiction-type aspects to the story and, without giving it away, some technology that we haven’t seen yet in the X-Men universe.”

That last bit has me really intrigued. The biggest sci-fi technology that was found in the original story was of course Kitty Pryde’s form of time travel, where instead being physically transported to our present from the future, just her consciousness is shunted back to occupy the body of her younger self. Could this be what he’s talking about?

Originally, Singer was also just going to produce, while Matthew Vaughn would return as director. But after Vaughn dropped out, Singer found himself back in the special chair, and he explained how that happened.

“I was on a boat off the coast of Hawaii on a working vacation, I was with John Orloff, the screenwriter of the Battlestar Galactica movie which I’ve had to step away from at the moment, obviously for this, and I was working with him and Jason Taylor who runs my company.  We were on a boat and we were doing some work but also relaxing a bit and I had had a drink, so I was a little relaxed, and I didn’t even realize I had phone service so I took the phone out of my pocket and it was a call from Emma Watts at the studio.  She just said, ‘Matthew’s not doing the movie, would you like to direct it?’  I wasn’t sure that was actually the case, I thought maybe it was a momentary issue they were having.

I didn’t know what to think, and then [screenwriter] Simon [Kinberg] called me up to prepare me to get the draft, because I needed to get the most recent draft at that point to make that decision.  And then Matthew called me the next day and that’s when I realized [it was real], and I said, ‘Are you sure?’ and he was like, ‘Yeah I’m sure,’ and he explained his reasons and I thought, ‘Okay, well I need to get into this.’  So it was a little like, “Oh, okay well now I know what the next year will be.’”

Vaughn of course dropped out to concentrate on developing The Secret Service, his collaboration with comic writer and FOX creative consultant Mark Millar, and while I – as a Vaughn fanboy – am sad he’s not around for the sequel, I’m hoping that Singer can once again work the mutant magic he did for the original two X-Men films. Also, using the timey wimey wibbly wobbly plot to undo Cyclops’ death would certainly not go unappreciated. Killing the leader of the X-Men off screen was kind of a dick move.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is scheduled for release in 3D on July 18, 2014.

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