Oscar-nominated filmmaker Amy Berg has been working on doc for two years
Oscar-nominated director Amy Berg (in photo below) has spent the last two years working on a scandalous new documentary about sex abuse in Hollywood that includes allegations about Bryan Singer (above), Variety has confirmed.
Michael Egan, who filed a lawsuit this week alleging Singer raped him as a teenager, has been cooperating with Berg on her documentary.
The Daily Mail first broke the story about Berg’s film.
It’s unclear if Egan had been interviewed on camera for the film. Amy Berg, who runs Disarming Films, received an Oscar nomination for her 2006 documentary “Deliver Us From Evil,” about sex abuse allegations in the Catholic Church.
She also directed the recent, Peter Jackson-produced West Memphis Three documentary “West of Memphis.”
Berg, who has a feature film at the Tribeca Film Festival (“Every Secret Thing,” written by Nicole Holofcener), could not be reached for comment on this report.
Egan, now 31, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in Hawaii federal court accusing Singer of sexually assaulting him multiple times in the late 1990s. Egan claims he was 15 years old when Singer forcibly raped him. He also alleged that Singer provided him with drugs and alcohol and flew him to Hawaii on more than one occasion in 1999 in return for promised movie roles. His suit claims battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy by unreasonable intrusion, and it seeks unspecified damages.
Singer’s powerhouse attorney, Marty Singer, called the lawsuit “absurd and defamatory.”
“The claims made against Bryan Singer are completely without merit,” the attorney said. “We are very confident that Bryan will be vindicated in this absurd and defamatory lawsuit. It is obvious that this case was filed in an attempt to get publicity at the time when Bryan’s new movie (‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’) is about to open in a few weeks,” he said.
But that hasn’t stopped Singer from canceling two major upcoming appearances in support of his upcoming summer tentpole.
The “X-Men” director will skip this weekend’s WonderCon in Anaheim and the upcoming Creativity Conference in Washington. Fox will be sending Simon Kinberg to WonderCon in Singer’s place as the studio prepares for the movie’s May 23 debut.
Singer, 48, was also supposed to join Vice President Joe Biden at the Creativity Conference on May 2 leading up to the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Chris Petrikin, spokesman for Fox, which distributed the “X-Men” films, said the allegations are a “personal matter.”
“These are serious allegations, and they will be resolved in the appropriate forum,” he said in a statement. “This is a personal matter, which Bryan Singer and his representatives are addressing separately.”
The scandal enveloping the filmmaker has had repercussions for ABC already and could impact CBS down the road given Singer’s stepped up activity in TV.
ABC has pulled promos for its new series “Black Box” that featured Singer’s name as executive producer. The net re-edited a handful of TV spots to now refer to Singer as “the executive producer of House.” The drama, which stars Kelly Reilly, premieres on Thursday.
At CBS, Singer directed the first episode of the high-profile drama series “Battle Creek,” from writers David Shore and Vince Gilligan. Singer is an exec producer on the Sony Pictures TV drama series that stars Josh Duhamel and Dean Winters as detectives in a rough-and-tumble Michigan town. The show has a series order from CBS and wrapped production on its first episode earlier this month. So far there’s no word of a change in his status on the show, which will not be in the public spotlight for months at the earliest. Nonetheless there’s no doubt Sony Pictures TV and CBS are monitoring Singer’s legal situation.
The Egan lawsuit wasn’t the first time the director has been accused of acting inappropriately with underage males.
In 1997, a lawsuit was filed by several underage actors who claimed Singer asked them to film a shower scene in the nude while shooting his film “Apt Pupil.” That suit was later dismissed for insufficient evidence.
At a news conference this week, Egan alleged that his mother first reported the allegations of sexual abuse to the Los Angeles Police Department and FBI in 2000 when he was 17.
“It basically fell on deaf ears, and I basically buried it deep within me” after that, he told reporters on Thursday.
“No one at a young age deserves to go through the horrific junk I went through,” Egan said, comparing himself to a “piece of meat.”
Cmdr. Andrew Smith, a spokesman for the LAPD, said that they were searching their records to see if they have a report from back then and to discover action was taken. But he said that they may not be able to release much information because it would have involved a juvenile.
Egan, who now resides in Nevada, said that the LAPD also informed the FBI, and he recalled meeting with an agent from that bureau.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said that she was limited in commenting on any litigation and that the FBI “does not comment on information provided to agents about alleged crimes unless the claims become a matter of public record.”
“However, the suggestion that the FBI ignored evidence involving the sexual victimization of a child is ludicrous,” she added. “The FBI vigorously pursues all allegations involving the sexual abuse of minors and pursues prosecution when evidence of such crimes is brought to its attention.”
The FBI did pursue allegations against Marc Collins-Rector, who is described in Egan’s lawsuit as the resident of the Encino estate where wild parties were held in which underage boys were given drugs and alcohol and made to perform sex with older men.
Collins-Rector pleaded guilty in 2004 on charges of luring minors over state lines for sexual acts. Egan was among the plaintiffs who filed a civil suit in 2000 against Collins-Rector and others over alleged sexual abuse, in a case in which a default judgment was entered against the defendants, according to court records. Herman could not say why the plaintiffs’ attorney in that case did not pursue a claim against Singer back then.
Egan claims in the suit that he never “freely, voluntarily and knowingly consented to these sexual interactions, and often resisted them.” At the press conference, he said that authorities were made aware of his claims against Singer in late 1999 or early 2000.
Asked why he decided to come forward, Egan said, “I have a story I believe should be known and should be out there.”
His attorney said that he believes there were eight to 10 men involved in what he described as a “ring” of sexual abuse at the Encino estate. He believes that there were five to six victims.
His attorney declined to name the three to four additional defendants to be named in suits but said that “there are other Hollywood types.”
It’s unknown whether these additional defendants will be featured in Berg’s upcoming documentary.
(Maane Khatchatourian contributed to this report.)