USC’s School of Cinematic Arts dedicated the Bryan Singer Division of Critical Studies on Sunday with an intimate gathering in the Mary Pickford lobby of the George Lucas Building on campus. The division is the first of the school’s seven to be named for an alum, whose $5 million gift to name the division will provide a lasting source of funding, according to the school.
Before a Q&A between the helmer-producer and division chair Akira Lippit, Singer listened to some good-natured ribbing from colleagues and former teachers. Editor, fellow alum and longtime Singer collaborator John Ottman told the gathering, “I’ve been Bryan Singer’s bitch for the last 25 years.” He then went on to recount how Singer told him back in the early days of their friendship, “I’m not good at anything. I have to be a film director.”
Singer said he had wanted to do something for the school because he’d had such a great experience there, but he wasn’t sure what to do. He considered the Bryan Singer Coffee Bean (“I really like Coffee Bean”) until Dean Elizabeth Daley suggested the endowment for the division.
When asked what course he would teach if he had a class at the division, Singer said it would be a study of pairs of films by the same director and that he’d call it Double Feature. “Of course, it would be a long class, so I’d make sure there’d be beer and coffee and popcorn,” he said. Lippit noted that there was an opening for a class in the spring.
The filmmaker’s 1995 pic “The Usual Suspects” screened at the Norris Theater following the Q&A.