X-Men Producer Welcomes Avengers–X-Men Crossover, Weighs In on Hollywood Harassment

Lauren Shuler Donner gives fans the thumbs-up and addresses what the #MeToo movement means for certain X-Men titles.

by | January 5, 2018 | Comments

The prospect of Disney owning 20th Century Fox’s film studio and Fox television properties is exciting for X-Men fans, who called for the franchise’s films to join with the Marvel Cinematic Universe of The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Doctor Strange when the deal was announced.

Lauren Shuler Donner, who produced all the X-Men movies, is executive producer on TV shows The Gifted and Legion, and will surely have some say in the franchise’s next steps, offered fans a ray of hope.

“Sure, why not?” she said in an interview with Rotten Tomatoes on Thursday at a Fox event during the Television Critics Association winter press tour. She also addressed what Hollywood’s #MeToo movement means to certain properties in the X-Men universe.

The deal was only approved in December, and both Disney and Fox give a timetable of up to 18 months to complete the sale. Shuler Donner already knows Disney CEO Bob Iger, Marvel Chief Kevin Feige, and Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. She is optimistic about the films they can produce together.

“Look, it’s 18 months [away], so who knows,” Shuler Donner said. “For me, I think Bob Iger is one of the smartest men in the country. Alan Horn’s an old friend. Kevin Feige was my intern and assistant and then my associate producer on the first X-Men. Kevin and I started the X-Men together, so for me if we work with Kevin, I’m happy.”

Other Marvel projects are still in development at Fox. In fact, Legion creator Noah Hawley is writing a script for Doctor Doom, a solo film about the Fantastic Four villain.

Hawley told Rotten Tomatoes that the film is still on track, so that’s another Marvel film that could happen before or after the Disney merger.

“I haven’t had a phone call, and I’m just operating under the assumption that it’s business as usual,” Hawley said. “Obviously, the merger, should it go through, will take a year at least. Certainly no one’s reached out to me from Marvel or Fox to say, ‘Well, you know, maybe we should take a beat or maybe we should rush.’ I’m working on the script, and we’ll see what the landscape is when I deliver it.”

Doctor Doom will be Hawley’s priority after season 2 of Legion, so there’s a chance it could be ready to go into production before the merger.

“It’s coming,” Hawley promised. “I’m almost done with the last Legion script, and then it’s my first responsibility.”

Legion begins its second season in April. Hawley is wonderfully unpredictable, so if fans were expecting the further adventures of David Haller (Dan Stevens) discovering his mutant powers, sorry. That was season 1.

“I think it was exciting for him to come up with a brand new take, a brand new story using our characters,” Shuler Donner said. “I think it’ll be fun for the audience too, so I’m down with it.”

Fox just announced it was renewing The Gifted for a second season. The X-Men series centers on the Mutant Underground, on the run from Sentinel Services. Season 1 has been a lot of running and fighting. Season 2 is going to have time to see if the Mutant Underground can get along with each other.

“Hopefully season 2 will let us explore a little bit more their own conflicts and the interdynamics, where they’re going,” Shuler Donner said. “You’ll see what happens in the final episode.”

Don’t get too excited about all the Trask Industries logos around the sets of The Gifted, though. Comic book readers recognize the company, but Trask Industries namesake Bolivar Trask already appeared in an X-Men movie, played by Peter Dinklage in Days of Future Past. The character will not appear on The Gifted.

“Basically we don’t want what you see in the movies to come into the TV show,” Shuler Donner said. “We want our own world. Yes, it’s Trask Industries, but no, he’s not going to show up.”

The next X-Men movie in theaters will be the Deadpool sequel. Atomic Blonde director David Leitch directs the sequel, and Shuler Donner said fans can expect each Deadpool movie to shake things up.

“Just in theory, we like to change it up every single time so you guys are never bored,” Shuler Donner said. “But it’s Deadpool. It’s got to come out of character.”

Ellen Page in X-Men: The Last Stand (Mary Evans/Twentieth Century Fox / Marvel Comics/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection)

Shuler Donner is also a vocal supporter of women in the entertainment industry, so when X-Men film franchise star Ellen Page, who played Kitty Pryde in the 2006 film The Last Stand and 2014’s Days of Future Past, came forward with her own #MeToo story from the earlier production about director Brett Ratner, Shuler Donner stood with her.

In the movement, women have shared stories of sexual harassment, assault, and rape, in hopes that predators will be removed from all industries and companies will adopt zero-tolerance policies on predatory behavior.

Page described an incident prior to filming in which Ratner told another actress to have sex with the then 18-year-old “to make her realize she’s gay.” Page said she was still discovering her sexual orientation at the time and felt violated by the comment. She also described other demeaning comments Ratner directed at other women.

The Last Stand co-star Anna Paquin corroborated Page’s account, posting on Twitter, “I was there when that comment was made. I stand with you.”

Shuler Donner said she spoke with Page after her post and also that she had experienced Ratner’s behavior herself.

“I back her up 100 percent,” Shuler Donner said. “Absolutely. He’s horrible. I’m aware he’s very demeaning to women, extremely demeaning to women, myself included. Yes, I was aware. Anybody that’s female, he’s demeaning.”

With the allegations against him and the cancellation of some of his deals, including a Hugh Hefner biography he was set to direct, Ratner may be facing exile from the movie business.

“I hope so,” she said.

DEADPOOL, from left: T.J. Miller, Gina Carano, 2016 (Joe Lederer/TM & ©Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Shuler Donner has another  abuse and harassment controversy to contend with on the Deadpool sequel. T.J. Miller, who plays “Weasel” in the film, has been accused of sexual assault, abuse, and, in a separate case, harassment of a trans film critic.

Some fans have said they want Miller replaced before the film is released, in the same way director-producer Ridley Scott replaced Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer in All the Money in the World following allegations against Spacey.

The Deadpool sequel is not out until June 1, and while Scott made the swap and did his reshoots in less time, Shuler Donner does not expect it would be possible to replace Miller at this point.

“We’re in the final editing,” she said. “I don’t think so.”

As for Miller’s future in the Deadpool franchise, she deferred to the studio to make such calls. After the Disney-Fox deal closes, Disney will decide if Miller has a future in their franchise.

“That’s a whole studio thing,” Shuler Donner said. “I don’t know.”

Bryan Singer attends a Global Fan Screening of "X-Men Apocalypse" at BFI IMAX on May 9, 2016 (Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Another colleague of Shuler Donner’s, Bryan Singer, has also had recent issues, though not on one of her films. Singer directed The Gifted pilot and four X-Men movies for Shuler Donner, but he was replaced on Bohemian Rhapsody for reportedly not showing up for work on the set. The biography of Queen singer Freddie Mercury starring Rami Malek will be finished by Dexter Fletcher.

“Listen, I love Bryan, but Bryan has a lot of demons,” Shuler Donner said. “Bryan has some problems, and Bryan needs to take care of his personal problems. That’s all I can say.”

Variety later reported that Singer has been dropped as executive producer on Legion because of sexual misconduct allegations against him. His EP status on The Gifted is also in jeopardy, according to the report.

The Gifted airs Mondays at 9/8C on Fox; Legion returns in April on FX.

Tag Cloud

HBO Max superhero Watching Series ABC Disney scorecard sports Podcast dragons Teen christmas movies 2015 Amazon Prime Video PBS OWN VH1 Red Carpet archives dogs spanish DC Comics Star Trek Fox Searchlight dc TIFF E3 scary movies Classic Film romance news franchise breaking bad sequels Lifetime Christmas movies indie Mary poppins Adult Swim Disney Channel CW Seed The Witch Country Year in Review rt archives Musicals stop motion docudrama Summer spider-man Disney Plus Paramount Network 99% Pop Bravo war finale Calendar die hard directors Logo VICE Peacock Acorn TV cancelled television VOD Britbox El Rey nfl zombie aliens criterion Shondaland cancelled TV shows Film Festival singing competition MTV fast and furious NYCC A24 Rocketman Set visit Turner black documentary independent Spectrum Originals Holidays latino Rom-Com revenge hispanic Brie Larson Musical WGN theme song dark Amazon Prime A&E CBS All Access Oscars AMC adaptation See It Skip It ABC Family television Cannes Lifetime animated zombies DGA Dark Horse Comics Rock cancelled best LGBTQ Polls and Games Crunchyroll dramedy justice league 2017 obituary BBC One History remakes batman Winners crime Amazon police drama anthology DirecTV richard e. Grant Lucasfilm technology critics GLAAD harry potter halloween tv Pixar Photos reboot green book Martial Arts TCM boxoffice YouTube Red Emmys Discovery Channel festival Certified Fresh parents First Look Mystery ratings RT History boxing Cosplay Chernobyl Hallmark anime biography 2016 psycho Lionsgate SundanceTV HBO TNT documentaries DC Universe HBO Go italian Star Wars Turner Classic Movies screenings Hear Us Out TruTV crossover Women's History Month ESPN binge San Diego Comic-Con comic books nature Ellie Kemper Pride Month The CW Captain marvel Sundance Television Critics Association Song of Ice and Fire TLC Netflix USA Network Countdown 21st Century Fox mockumentary 2018 Family romantic comedy serial killer adventure cults natural history what to watch Arrowverse Endgame Awards Tour 4/20 YouTube TV renewals french name the review based on movie Trailer Thanksgiving movie NBC zero dark thirty social media Avengers screen actors guild toronto period drama hollywood kids politics Disney streaming service quibi Comic Book MSNBC 45 Character Guide south america Food Network Elton John BET Awards TBS CNN Best and Worst child's play Schedule Hallmark Christmas movies comedies Animation CBS Opinion Tarantino Marvel Marathons Black Mirror Tumblr comiccon Comedy Central Grammys Warner Bros. Fantasy Super Bowl Alien Shudder Syfy MCU festivals canceled travel Comedy OneApp chucky Reality Competition Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Action Christmas YA blockbuster Universal dceu FOX Music PlayStation Reality Marvel Television Rocky comic BET FXX series cartoon Ovation Nat Geo football stand-up comedy First Reviews Disney+ Disney Plus American Society of Cinematographers Awards 20th Century Fox BBC crime thriller Pirates Quiz The Arrangement Video Games Biopics political drama Netflix Christmas movies Tubi Sci-Fi emmy awards RT21 deadpool Epix Comics on TV Horror mission: impossible talk show Paramount witnail supernatural medical drama ghosts free movies Trivia GIFs Kids & Family TCA 2017 Heroines video on demand venice FX Film X-Men Funimation ID comics james bond science fiction Sony Pictures Hulu BAFTA Mary Tyler Moore Ghostbusters joker Crackle streaming concert Spring TV laika Travel Channel FX on Hulu nbcuniversal Superheroe casting Fall TV E! GoT game of thrones historical drama Spike films Marvel Studios PaleyFest The Walking Dead twilight Baby Yoda transformers Pop TV video Holiday Box Office Pet Sematary book japanese Winter TV Tomatazos Sundance TV DC streaming service game show golden globes Fox News BBC America The Academy cooking SXSW CMT stoner slashers Mudbound Mindy Kaling cats Valentine's Day Nickelodeon Premiere Dates sequel TCA space cancelled TV series Columbia Pictures asian-american hist Showtime award winner IFC Films tv talk Apple Writers Guild of America true crime Western ITV worst renewed TV shows IFC movies rotten Stephen King classics Esquire National Geographic Television Academy a nightmare on elm street universal monsters 24 frames halloween diversity sitcom 72 Emmy Awards Election 2020 TV Land Masterpiece Starz all-time Trophy Talk worst movies toy story teaser thriller Chilling Adventures of Sabrina strong female leads Emmy Nominations spanish language Mary Poppins Returns Black History Month foreign TV Anna Paquin reviews mutant Sneak Peek psychological thriller Freeform Interview indiana jones composers rotten movies we love Sundance Now APB robots australia Amazon Studios New York Comic Con cinemax TCA Winter 2020 Drama canceled TV shows unscripted The Purge WarnerMedia SDCC Apple TV+ spain USA werewolf children's TV 2019 71st Emmy Awards Walt Disney Pictures cars Creative Arts Emmys Infographic President YouTube Premium vampires discovery disaster LGBT Vudu spy thriller satire cops Academy Awards sag awards miniseries doctor who 007 crime drama Binge Guide TCA Awards fresh versus elevated horror facebook Toys Extras blaxploitation jamie lee curtis Cartoon Network spinoff Nominations Superheroes Apple TV Plus