Study Guide

The Usual Suspects Director

Director

Bryan Singer

If you've heard of Bryan Singer, you're probably wearing a Wolverine or Storm costume right now…because you're really into the X-Men and Singer directed the X-Men movies.

This makes Singer one of the main architects of the modern Hollywood superhero revolution—he pioneered the revitalized superhero movie, which has provided Hollywood's summer blockbuster bread-and-butter for the last fifteen years or so.

But Bryan Singer wasn't always in the biz of telling Cyclops to re-perform his eye-laser sequence with more intensity. Before he re-invented the superhero genre for the 2000's, he made his mark with The Usual Suspects, a smash hit that wildly out-earned its budget.

Now, he's pretty much obligated to make X-Men sequels again and again and again and again…what hath Bryan Singer wrought?

It wasn't always that way. Back in the day, Singer's first feature—the movie that got him noticed—was entitled Public Access. Working from a script written by McQuarrie, the film won Grand Jury prize at Sundance in 1993. Kevin Spacey was a fan and wanted to act in Singer's next film—so, when McQuarrie wrote The Usual Suspects, Spacey was ready to roll.

Singer said, at the time,

"I only knew it [The Usual Suspects] would be better than Public Access, because I had better actors… You have no idea if a movie is going to have any longevity or a cult classic nature. None of that ever occurred to me." (Source)

When it came time to direct the film, Singer had to manage some setbacks. Benicio Del Toro decided—intentionally—to use an unusual and basically incomprehensible accent when reciting his lines. Singer decided to just go with it and added lines to the script making it clear that the other characters didn't understand what Fenster (Del Toro's character was saying, either).

So, problem averted—aside from the fact that Del Toro rendered a bunch of McQuarrie's dialogue unrecognizable. (Source)

Another challenge involved filming at the Port of Los Angeles: when they were filming the boat gunfight scene at the end, someone called the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, who arrived on the scene and almost shut down production. But, ultimately, they didn't—hmm, did Keyser Söze pay them off, or did they just know how awesome the movie would become? (Source)

But, of course, the movie was finally completed, and Bryan Singer became a major Hollywood director. This gave him the juice he needed to helm movies like X-Men…and the sequel to X-Men, X2…and Superman Returns…X-Men First ClassX-Men: Days of Future Past…and the forthcoming X-Men: Apocalypse.

Did we mention that he directed X-Men movies?

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