The sexual misconduct allegations against director Bryan Singer have been an open secret in Hollywood for a long time, and they all came to a head yesterday when The Atlantic published a long article outlining several new allegations in detail. Despite this, the producer of sword-and-sorcery film Red Sonja has confirmed that singer is still attached to the project.
“I continue to be in development for Red Sonja and Bryan Singer continues to be attached,” producer Avi Lerner told The Hollywood Reporter.
He followed that with a weirdly aggressive diatribe about fake news:
The over $800 million Bohemian Rhapsody has grossed, making it the highest grossing drama in film history, is testament to his remarkable vision and acumen. I know the difference between agenda driven fake news and reality, and I am very comfortable with this decision. In America people are innocent until proven otherwise.
It’s probably worth mentioning that Lerner, a long-time producer of mainly Hollywood action movies, has himself been accused of sexual misconduct. His company Millennium Films was hit with a lawsuit in 2017 alleging that the plaintiff was “subjected to a discriminatory, harassing and misogynistic work environment, hostile to female employees.”
Terry Crews also claimed that Lerner threatened him over the actor’s allegation that he was groped by producer Adam Venit. This alleged threat led to Crews not appearing in Expendables 4, which Lerner produced.
Singer’s film Bohemian Rhapsody is nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Picture. He was fired towards the end of production for erratic behaviour including not showing up on set for days at a time. The film was finished by Dexter Fletcher, who did not receive director credit in line with Directors Guild of America rules. (Fletcher was credited as an executive producer.)
Singer has strenuously denied the allegations raised in the Atlantic piece. In a statement, he described them as “homophobic smears”, referring to the fact that the piece didn’t run in Esquire as was originally planned:
The last time I posted about this subject, Esquire magazine was preparing to publish an article written by a homophobic journalist who has a bizarre obsession with me dating back to 1997. After careful fact-checking and, in consideration of the lack of credible sources, Esquire chose not to publish this piece of vendetta journalism.
That didn’t stop this writer from selling it to The Atlantic. It’s sad that The Atlantic would stoop to this low standard of journalistic integrity. Again, I am forced to reiterate that this story rehashes claims from bogus lawsuits filed by a disreputable cast of individuals willing to lie for money or attention. And it is no surprise that, with Bohemian Rhapsody being an award-winning hit, this homophobic smear piece has been conveniently timed to take advantage of its success.
Red Sonja is set to begin filming in Bulgaria in 2020. It’s reported that the studio will pay Singer $10 million.