Bryan Singer on creating the X-Men film universe: 'There was no concept'

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Feb 5, 2016, 6:52 PM EST (Updated)

It’s hard to believe it's been a full 16 years since Bryan Singer helped usher in the modern superhero movie genre with X-Men, but now the director is looking back on how the franchise came together all those years ago.

In an interview with Collider, Singer said he was attracted to the project due to the implications of what it means to be a “mutant,” and how it relates to being a real-life outsider in the modern world. More than just telling a superhero story (Singer didn’t even see it as that, really, and instead connected with the themes related to the X-Men concept), the director said he wanted to use those elements to tell a real, compelling story (with ample action, of course).

Check out an excerpt from his comments below:

“There was no concept. There was no template for it. Comic book movies had died, there was no concept of one as anything but camp. I took it on because I saw the thematics of it were interesting to me. I saw Xavier and Magneto as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X characters. I’m gay or bisexual, whatever, so that probably factored into it a bit because mutancy is discovered at that age in puberty when you’re different from your whole neighborhood and your family and you feel very isolated. So that probably factored into my decision to do it to some degree at least, and I wanted to get involved in action-adventure and this was an avenue to do it.

For me I was very cynical about it, like ‘They call themselves Cyclops, Storm, Sabertooth,’ but with Wolverine, I said ‘I can be Logan and by the end of the movie I can embrace this universe,’ so I can tell this story. Through him I can make this movie and I can make it like a film that happens to be based on a comic book, that happens to have action sequences in it, but it’s still to me a film. It’s not just genre. It’s a film. Like Usual Suspects or Apt Pupil or the other films I had made at the time.”

Singer also touched on how the X-Men franchise has created its own “feel,” that is something altogether different when compared to the Dark Knights and Avengers of the world. Singer’s vision has been a big part (if not the biggest) of what made the X-Men series a hit, and you only have to look to the messy X-3: The Last Stand (which he exited, and was replaced by Brett Ratner) as an example for what happens when he’s not involved.

Love him or hate him, Singer is the conductor who keeps the X-train rolling.

(Via Collider)