Bryan Singer, the director of “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” skipped the world premiere of his movie on Saturday night, following the recent filings of two lawsuits that allege he sexually abused underage boys.
But the cast of the Twentieth Century Fox summer tentpole — including Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman, Ellen Page, James McAvoy, Patrick Stewart and Michael Fassbender — packed plenty of star power into New York’s Javits Convention Center. The live-streaming premiere also invited hundreds of “X-Men” fans inside, who waved posters and action figures and shrieked as the actors posed for selfies.
When the subject of their director would come up, the red carpet attendees either deflected questions or vaguely defended him — as an artist. The studio’s chief Jim Gianopulos thanked Singer in his introductory remarks, making no mention of the scandal or his absence.
Patrick Stewart, who plays Professor Xavier, recalled how Singer created a strong foundation as a director with the first “X-Men” movie in 2000. “Well, he is a visionary,” Stewart said. “He is a serious filmmaker. He knows the craft inside out. He knows what he wants, although sometimes it could be a roundabout process to get there.”
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Asked if he’s reached out to the director, Stewart responded: “We are in touch all the time, through email mostly.” How is Singer doing? “He’s great!” Stewart responded.
Shawn Ashmore, who plays Iceman, said he was happy to collaborate with Singer again, after the director left the franchise in 2003. “There’s a familiarity and trust for a lot of the actors, because he’s worked with us before and he cast us,” Ashmore said. “It was amazing to have him back.”
Ashmore, 34, was just a teenager when Singer discovered him for the first “X-Men” movie, which launched his career. The celebrity site Defamer reported that Singer had at one point housed Ashmore’s twin brother Aaron in his Los Angeles house, citing an old blog that Aaron had written. “No, no,” Ashmore said, denying that ever happened. “We miss him [Singer], but he’s made a great film. The film speaks for itself.”
The movie’s screenwriter Simon Kinberg wouldn’t say if Singer would return to direct the next “X-Men: Apocalypse,” scheduled for a 2016 release. “You have to ask Bryan,” Kinberg said. (A few days ago, McAvoy also expressed uncertainty—“I don’t know really,” he said — to the same question in an interview with Variety.)
Producer Hutch Parker said that it is “certainly my hope” that Singer would make the new film. Parker said he’s stayed in close contact with Singer in the last few weeks. “He’s excited for the movie,” Parker said. “Bryan has grown a lot as a filmmaker.” When asked about the allegations, Parker shot back: “I’m not going to talk about that.”