One perk of being a man in Hollywood? Apparently it means you can walk off the job for over a week and blame a “thyroid issue.” At least, that’s what Olivia Munn says Bryan Singer did while working on 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse.
“I never shot a huge movie like that before,” Munn told Variety in an interview published Tuesday. “I didn’t know what was right or wrong, but I did know that it seems strange that Bryan Singer could check out and say he had a thyroid issue.”
“Instead of going to a doctor in Montreal, which is a very high-level, working city, he said he had to go to L.A,” Munn continued. “And he was gone for about 10 days is my recollection... And he texted to the actors, ‘Hey guys. I’m busy right now. But just go ahead and start filming without me.’ And we’d be like, ‘OK.’ And I never thought any of it was normal, but I didn’t realize that other people also thought it wasn’t normal. And the other people who thought it wasn’t normal would be people at high levels, people who make decisions on whether to hire this person.”
When reached for comment by Variety, Singer’s publicist Howard Bragman said that Singer “saw doctors in Montreal and then came back to see doctors in Los Angeles. And to the best of our recollection, it only affected two days of shooting.”
Months before production on X-Men began, two lawsuits impugned Singer’s work ethic and, more alarmingly, accused the director of sexually abusing underage boys. The suits were ultimately dismissed. Singer remained on board with X-Men—and even after his alleged disappearing act from set, 20th Century Fox brought him back to direct Bohemian Rhapsody before ultimately firing him for repeated absences from set. Last year The Atlantic published an exposé after a year of reporting, in which four more men said Singer molested them when they were underage; Singer denied any association with the men.
Munn has previously discussed her disappointment with how little Singer seemed to know about her X-Men character, Psylocke. “I was actually surprised that the director and the writer didn’t even know that Psylocke had a twin brother,” Munn said last year. “And I had to talk to them about a lot of different things about Psylocke and some other parts of the world that they didn’t even know, and that, as a fan, was very frustrating.”
Munn has also been one of Hollywood’s most outspoken figures amid the industry’s #MeToo reckoning. In November of 2017 she was one of several women who came forward to accuse Brett Ratner of sexual harassment and misconduct. It was an account she’d shared before, without naming names, in her 2010 book of essays. Munn said she’d visited the set of Ratner’s After the Sunset as an aspiring actress in 2004—and that when she went to deliver a meal to his trailer as a favor he masturbated in front of her. Ratner’s attorney, Martin Singer, “categorically” disputed all the claims against the director at the time.
Then, in the fall of 2018, Munn spoke out again—this time by alerting Twentieth Century Fox executives that Predator director Shane Black had hired a registered sex offender widely known to be his friend as a supporting actor on the project without informing any of the other performers of that history. The scene in which Steven Wilder Striegel appeared was eventually deleted—but Munn had been told at the time that speaking out could pose a risk to her career.
“I’m scared of a lot of different things,” Munn told The Hollywood Reporter of the incident, “but being bullied is something that doesn’t work for me. I’m one of those people that doesn’t cower to that. A big reason for that is that the things that are most valuable to me—my family, friends, health, education, self-worth—can’t be taken away. Once you have that, you realize there’s nothing to fear.”