Director Bryan Singer’s reputation was once again hit hard Wednesday after The Atlantic released a lengthy and deeply investigated report into the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct lodged against him. But that hasn’t affected one of his next gigs. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the X-Men and Bohemian Rhapsody filmmaker is still attached to the big budget reboot of Red Sonja that was announced in the fall.
Producer Avi Lerner, founder and CEO of Millennium Pictures — who have produced the Expendables movies, Olympus/London Has Fallen, and The Hitman’s Bodyguard, and who are working on Red Sonja — weighed in on the report, saying Singer would keep his job.
“I know the difference between agenda driven fake news and reality, and I am very comfortable with this decision,” Lerner said in a statement. “In America people are innocent until proven otherwise.”
The Atlantic report — which originally began at Esquire, who then declined to publish it, and which Singer preemptively attacked in October — is the result of 12 months of research involving over 50 sources, including four men who were speaking up for the first time. Only one of those four, Victor Valdovinos, allowed his real name to be used. He alleged that Singer sexually assaulted him when he was a 13-year-old extra on the set of the 1998 Stephen King adaptation Apt Pupil.
Others claim of having sexual experiences with him when they were underage and he was in his late 20s/early 30s. In December of 2017, one Cesar Sanchez-Guzman publicly accused Singer of raping him on his yacht when he was 17.
Singer denied the Sanchez-Guzman allegations, which emerged only a few days after he was fired from Bohemian Rhapsody due to his erratic presence. Singer was replaced by future Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher, though he retained sole director’s credit under DGA rules. He did not attend the Golden Globes in January, where Rhapsody took home one of the Best Picture trophies, and his name was not mentioned once. The Queen biopic has since been nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Singer has denied the Atlantic report, claiming Esquire “chose not to publish this piece of vendetta journalism” and called at least one of the reporters “homophobic.” The Atlantic responded in a statement saying Esquire’s reason for killing it are unknown, and that the piece went through “another rigorous fact-check and robust legal vetting.” They added, “We are most grateful that the alleged victims now have a chance to be heard and we hope the substance of their allegations remain the focus.”
Still, Lerner has made it clear he’s sticking by Singer’s side, at least for now. As per his statement, Red Sonja is expected to begin shooting in Bulgaria in the spring. It brings back a character best known for the 1985 Conan the Barbarian spin-off of the same name, which starred Brigitte Nielsen and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the latter who went on to joke that he used to make his kids watch it as punishment.
In his statement Lerner praised Singer and his ability to make movies that make money, saying, “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.”