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Bryan Singer
Brian Singer "International Competition Jury" at Opening Ceremony of the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival (22427114066) (cropped).jpg
Singer in 2015
Bryan Jay Singer

(1965-09-17) September 17, 1965 (age 58)
New York City, U.S.
  • Director
  • Producer
  • Screenwriter
Years active 1984–present
Children 1

Bryan Jay Singer (born September 17, 1965) is an American filmmaker. He is the founder of Bad Hat Harry Productions and has produced almost all of the films he has directed.

After graduating from the University of Southern California, Singer directed his first short film, Lion's Den (1988). On the basis of that film, he received financing for his next film, Public Access (1993), which was a co-winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival. In the mid-1990s, Singer received critical acclaim for directing the neo-noir crime thriller The Usual Suspects (1995). He followed this with another thriller, Apt Pupil (1998), an adaptation of a Stephen King novella about a boy's fascination with a Nazi war criminal. In the 2000s, he became known for big budget superhero films such as X-Men (2000), for which Singer won the 2000 Saturn Award for Best Direction, its sequel X2 (2003), and Superman Returns (2006). He then directed the World War II historical thriller Valkyrie (2008), co-wrote/co-produced X-Men: First Class (2011), and directed the fantasy adventure film Jack the Giant Slayer (2013), as well as two more X-Men films, X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) and X-Men: Apocalypse (2016). .....

Early life

Singer was born in New York City and was adopted by Grace Sinden, an environmental activist, and Norbert Dave Singer, a corporate executive. He grew up in a Jewish household in West Windsor Township, New Jersey. In his early teens, he started making 8mm films as well as experimenting with photography. He attended West Windsor-Plainsboro High School (now renamed West-Windsor Plainsboro High School South), graduating in 1984. He studied filmmaking for two years at the School of Visual Arts in New York, and later transferred to the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles where he followed the Critical studies program.



Singer directed a short film in 1988 called Lion's Den involving a number of friends, including actor Ethan Hawke, whom he knew from his childhood in New Jersey, and editor John Ottman, whom he had met while working on a friend's short film. After a screening of Lion's Den, Singer was approached by someone from Tokuma Japan Productions, a Japanese company interested in funding a series of low-budget films. Singer pitched a concept that eventually became the film Public Access (1993). Ottman again served as editor but this time also composed the score for the film. At the 1993 Sundance Film Festival, the film was named as co-winner of the Grand Jury Prize with Ruby in Paradise.

In 1994, he founded the production company Bad Hat Harry Productions, in homage to Steven Spielberg and the famous line from Jaws. Singer followed this by directing The Usual Suspects, which was screened out of competition at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival. It was a success, winning Christopher McQuarrie an Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay), and actor Kevin Spacey an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

In 1998, Singer obtained the rights to adapt Stephen King's novella Apt Pupil, a thriller about an all-American boy discovering that a Nazi war criminal lives in his neighborhood. Singer's film adaptation starred Sir Ian McKellen, Brad Renfro, and David Schwimmer.


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Singer in Comic Con 2006, promoting X-Men: The Last Stand

In the early 2000s, Singer was hoping to direct Confessions of a Dangerous Mind based on the Chuck Barris book of the same name. The film was later directed by George Clooney for Miramax Films with Sam Rockwell in the lead role. In February 2001, Singer was attempting to produce a new Battlestar Galactica television series for Studios USA (now NBC Universal Television Studio) Speaking to BBC News, Singer said he was "confident that the Galactica brand is a sleeping giant. It was a show I watched during its initial run, from the pilot to the final episode. The essence and the brand name is quite potent in a climate where there's a great deficit of sci-fi programming." Singer eventually left the project, which was produced by another team on the Sci Fi Channel.

In mid-2004, Singer was in negotiations to direct X-Men: The Last Stand for Fox, when Singer agreed to direct Superman Returns for Warner Bros. In consequence, Fox terminated its production deal with Bad Hat Harry Productions, Singer's production company.

Superman Returns was filmed in Australia in 2005, and was released on June 28, 2006. Singer claimed that he had always admired and identified with the character, citing the fact that he and Superman are both orphans, noting that he was inspired by the 1978 film starring Christopher Reeve and the comics of Alex Ross.

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Singer at the premiere of Valkyrie in 2009

In August 2009, Universal Pictures announced that Singer would direct and produce a big screen reimagining of the Battlestar Galactica television series of the late-1970s, which would not draw any material from the Syfy Channel reimagined series.

On September 10, 2009, it was announced NBC has partnered with Singer and Bryan Fuller to adapt Augusten Burroughs's Sellevision into a series about a fictional home shopping network, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Neither project was ultimately produced.

At the premiere of James Cameron's Avatar on December 16, 2009, Singer confirmed that he would be directing Jack the Giant Slayer (2013) for Warner Bros, and that he had signed on to do X-Men: First Class, but conflicts between the two projects led to Singer being only a producer and co-screenwriter on First Class, with Matthew Vaughn taking over directorial duties.


In October 2012, it was announced that Singer would direct the next movie in the series, X-Men: Days of Future Past; Vaughn stayed on as a producer and screenwriter, and the film was released in May 2014. Singer produced the commercials for the ice cream Magnum Gold, which featured Benicio del Toro. In 2012, Singer was the executive producer alongside Jane Lynch of the short film, Ronny and I, directed by Guy Shalem that screened at Outfest and Cannes. Singer directed another X-Men film, X-Men: Apocalypse, that he also produced and co-wrote with Simon Kinberg, Dan Harris, and Michael Dougherty. Days of Future Past stars Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Jennifer Lawrence, and Evan Peters re-teamed with Singer for Apocalypse.

In 2015, Singer, Bad Hat Harry Productions, and Same Name Productions started to collaborate on a documentary project with Guy Shalem. The documentary was set to explore the Israeli–Palestinian conflict through the vantage point of a dynamic Arab-Israeli activist.

In 2016, Fox announced that Singer would direct its version of 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, after having been asked to participate on the elaboration of the movie's script.

After the release of X-Men: Apocalypse, Singer expressed interest in directing a solo Mystique film starring Jennifer Lawrence.

In November 2016, it was announced that Singer would direct the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. He produced the film with Jim Beach and Graham King. On December 1, 2017, The Hollywood Reporter reported that 20th Century Fox had temporarily halted production due to the "unexpected unavailability" of Singer, with sources saying that he had failed to return to the set after the Thanksgiving week. Producers were nervous about the state of production and started discussions about potentially replacing him, at which point cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel may have stepped in to direct during Singer's absence. Singer's absence was reportedly due to "a personal health matter concerning [him] and his family", and Singer's representatives stated that he was visiting his ill mother. However, other sources stated that the film's lead actor Rami Malek and the crew had grown tired of Singer's behavior; Singer had reportedly shown up late to set on multiple occasions, and has repeatedly clashed with Malek. On December 4, 2017, Singer was fired as a director with about two weeks remaining in principal photography. Singer's replacement Dexter Fletcher is quoted saying he came in and "just finished it up, really." 20th Century Fox terminated his Bad Hat Harry Productions deal with the studio. Singer still received directorial credit for Bohemian Rhapsody due to a Directors Guild of America ruling that only a sole director can receive credit.

At the end of January 2017, Singer signed on to direct an action adventure pilot in the X-Men Universe entitled The Gifted. The show was broadcast on Fox and canceled after two seasons.

Personal life

Singer is bisexual, and has said that growing up Jewish and a sexual minority influenced his movies. He and actress Michelle Clunie have a son who was born in January 2015.



Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Producer Writer Actor
1988 Lion's Den Yes Yes Yes Yes Short film
1993 Public Access Yes Yes Yes No
1995 The Usual Suspects Yes Yes No No
1998 Apt Pupil Yes Yes No No
Burn No Yes No No
2000 X-Men Yes No Story No
2002 Star Trek: Nemesis No No No Yes As Kelly
2003 X2 Yes Executive Story Cameo As security guard
2006 Superman Returns Yes Yes Story No
Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman No Yes No No Documentary
2007 Color Me Olsen No Yes No No Short film
Trick 'r Treat No Yes No No
2008 Valkyrie Yes Yes No No
2011 X-Men: First Class No Yes Story No
2013 Jack the Giant Slayer Yes Yes No No
Uwantme2killhim? No Yes No No
2014 X-Men: Days of Future Past Yes Yes Concept Cameo As man with a small film camera
The Taking of Deborah Logan No Yes No No
2016 X-Men: Apocalypse Yes Yes Story Cameo As security guard
2018 Bohemian Rhapsody Yes Uncredited No No Replaced by Dexter Fletcher late in production but retained credit as director
2019 Dark Phoenix No Uncredited No No Removed from production and credits amid ... allegations


Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Producer Writer Actor
2004–2012 House Yes (2004) Executive Yes Episodes: "Pilot" (also known as "Everybody Lies"), "Occam's Razor" and "Sports Medicine"
2005 The Triangle Yes Yes Miniseries
2006 The Science of Superman Yes TV documentary
2007 Football Wives Yes Yes Episode: "Pilot"
2007–2009 Dirty ... Money Yes
2008 Valkyrie: The Plot to Kill Hitler Yes TV documentary
2012 Mockingbird Lane Yes Executive TV special
2015 Battle Creek Yes Executive Episode: "The Battle Creek Way"
2017 Legion Executive Removed from credits for season two onward amid ... allegations
2017–2019 The Gifted Yes (2017) Executive Episode: "eXposed"

Web series

Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Producer Writer Actor
2012–2013 H+: The Digital Series Yes

Recurring collaborators

Lion's Den
Public Access
The Usual Suspects
Apt Pupil
Jack the Giant Slayer
Gilbert Adler YesY YesY
Shawn Ashmore YesY YesY YesY
Halle Berry YesY YesY YesY
Daniel Cudmore YesY YesY
Bruce Davison YesY YesY YesY
Michael Dougherty YesY YesY YesY
Michael Fassbender YesY YesY
Ben Hardy YesY YesY
Dan Harris YesY YesY YesY
Josh Helman YesY YesY
Tom Hollander YesY YesY
Nicholas Hoult YesY YesY YesY
Hugh Jackman YesY YesY YesY YesY
Famke Janssen YesY YesY YesY
Kenneth Kokin YesY YesY
Dylan Kussman YesY YesY
Jennifer Lawrence YesY YesY
James Marsden YesY YesY YesY YesY
James McAvoy YesY YesY
Ian McKellen YesY YesY YesY YesY
Christopher McQuarrie YesY YesY YesY YesY
Bill Nighy YesY YesY
John Ottman YesY YesY YesY YesY YesY YesY YesY YesY YesY YesY YesY
Anna Paquin YesY YesY YesY
Evan Peters YesY YesY
Rebecca Romijn YesY YesY
Newton Thomas Sigel YesY YesY YesY YesY YesY YesY YesY YesY YesY YesY
Kevin Spacey YesY YesY
Patrick Stewart YesY YesY YesY
Lucas Till YesY YesY

Awards and nominations

Year Work Award Category Result Ref.
1993 Public Access Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Won
Deauville American Film Festival International Critics' prize Won
1995 The Usual Suspects Tokyo International Film Festival Silver prize Won
Seattle International Film Festival Best Director Won
1996 The Usual Suspects Empire Awards Best Newcomer Won
Saturn Award Best Director Nominated
Himself Saturn Award President's Memorial Award Won
1999 Apt Pupil Saturn Award Best Director Nominated
2001 X-Men Empire Awards Best Director Won
Saturn Award Best Director Won
2002 X-Men Prix Nebula Best Script Nominated
2004 X2 Saturn Award Best Director Nominated
2007 Superman Returns Empire Awards Best Director Nominated
Saturn Award Best Director Won
2009 Valkyrie Saturn Award Best Director Nominated
2015 X-Men: Days of Future Past Saturn Award Best Director Nominated
2017 X-Men: Apocalypse Saturn Award Best Director Nominated

Note: Singer was initially listed as a nominee for Best British Film at the British Academy Film Awards for Bohemian Rhapsody as a co-producer in 2019, however following ... allegations the Academy announced that they had rescinded his nomination.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Bryan Singer para niños

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