It turns out that Bryan Singer, one of the men most responsible for current era of comic book movies, didn’t actually want comic books on set during the production of the first X-Men movie. It’s easy to take for granted now just how much has changed in the last 18 years, but Hollywood simply had very little respect for comic book movies prior to X-Men and Spider-Man coming out in 2000 and 2002. Were it not for the Marvel Comics that inspired these stories, audiences around the world wouldn’t get to enjoy these stories on the big screen. Singer, strangely, felt it was best to keep the source material away from set in those early days.
This reveal comes from Hugh Jackman, who played the role of Wolverine for nearly two decades, starting with X-Men and concluding with last year’s Logan. The actor is currently promoting his new political drama The Front Runner and, during a recent interview, he revealed that Bryan Singer considered comic books to be contraband during production. As such, people actually had to slip the comics under Jackman’s door in order for him to actually read the books that inspired his most iconic character. Here’s what he had to say about it.
“Bryan Singer had this thing that people would think he really wanted to take comic book characters seriously, as real three-dimensional characters that people who don’t understand these comics might think they’re two-dimensional, so no one was allowed [comics]. … It was contraband. I’d never read X-Men, so people were slipping them under my door … I’m reading, I’m looking at these things going ‘these are brilliant, look at the physicality.'”
X-Men set itself apart from previous comic book movies in that it treated the material very seriously and gave its characters complex human emotions, motivations and backstory, in addition to superpowers. While it may seem odd now, it’s kind of easy to see why Bryan Singer may have wanted to keep some distance from the more colorful, and literally two-dimensional representations of Wolverine and the gang away from those on set.
In the years since that first X-Men movie, the franchise has spawned many successful sequels and spin-offs, most notably the Deadpool franchise. It also opened the door for what would become the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is now easily the most popular franchise on the planet. As a result, people now have no problem taking comic books seriously.
Bryan Singer has since been subject to a lot of controversy, given the multiple sexual misconduct allegations made against him, not to mention his recent behavior that got him fired from Bohemian Rhapsody. But he, with the help of actors like Hugh Jackman, helped reshape the way we think of comic books in the mainstream. Even if it is somewhat ironic to know that the actual comic books were nowhere to be found while that first movie was being filmed. For more with Hugh Jackman, be sure to check out the full interview from the MTV News YouTube channel.