The X-Men film franchise might have ushered in a new era of superhero filmmaking, but a new The Hollywood Reporter story says that behind-the-scenes of the first film, directed by Bryan Singer, “crises raged, including drug use, tantrums and a writers’ feud.”

Singer, then 34, had already developed a reputation for running an out-of-control set. His frequent absences resulted in him being fired from the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody — ironically his most successful film — many years later.

“It’s a weird business, the film business,” producer Lauren Shuler Donner said. “We honour creativity and talent and we forgive the brilliant ones. Unconsciously, we probably do enable them by turning a blind eye to whatever they’re doing and taking their product and putting it out to the world.” Another executive said, “His behaviour was poor on the movie. We accommodated him on the first movie, and therefore we can accommodate him on the second movie. And on and on. And it created a monster.”

Also read: X-Men turns 20: Did you know Hugh Jackman wasn’t first choice for Wolverine, was almost fired 5 weeks into filming?

Another incident on the sets of the second X-Men movie, saw Hugh Jackman being injured because Singer insisted on shooting a stunt without a coordinator present, and under the influence of a drug he’d consumed at a party. Production was halted, but after the studio seemingly sided with Singer, several main cast members, minus Rebecca Romijn and Ian McKellan, protested. It was then that Halle Berry reportedly told Singer: “You can kiss my Black a$$.” Singer denied this.

Singer continued to land big gigs, despite mounting allegations of child sexual abuse. His removal from Bohemian Rhapsody came at a time when more accusations had been made against him.

“He was very nervous and he would act out when he was insecure, as many people do. But his way of acting out would be to yell and scream at everybody on the set. Or walk off the set or shut down production,” Shuler Donner, who declined to attend the X-Men premiere out of frustration, said. “You have to understand, the guy was brilliant, and that was why we all tolerated him and cajoled him. And if he wasn’t so f**ked up, he would be a really great director.”

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