Red Sonja Dropped From Millennium Pictures Production Slate; Director Status Unclear
by Erik Amaya
It seems Millennium Films may be addressing criticisms surrounding its choice to employ Bryan Singer.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the company has removed its adaptation of the Robert E. Howard and Marvel Comics hero Red Sonja from its production slate and chose not to sell distribution rights during the Berlin Film Festival; a major market for European film bookings. The film was expected to go into production in Bulgaria in the next few months. Back in September of 2018, the company announced Singer would helm the film about a fierce adventurer in Howard’s Hyborean Age who also happens to be the victim of a violent sexual assault.
The latter aspect of the character’s backstory led to widespread criticism of Singer’s participation in the film. The X-Men filmmaker has faced accusations of perpetrating sexual assaults for decades. At the time he was hired to direct Red Sonja, he was lying low after new allegations arose that he raped a then-17-year-old boy in 2003. As litigation loomed, Singer vanished from the set of his in-production Bohemian Rhapsody for a week; leading to his dismissal from the film. He later returned to supervise editing. After the film won Best Picture at the Golden Globes earlier this year, The Atlantic published an expose of his conduct from the time of his first film to the present day. The site spoke to a number of his alleged victims and detailed a highly organized sex ring devoted to supplying him with vulnerable young men and, often, underaged boys.
Singer himself dismissed the piece as a homophobic attack while Red Sonja‘s producer, Avi Lerner, told THR he backed the director because “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.” He added, “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.” But it seems his solid support of Singer may be at an end.
Of course, removing the project from the production calendar can mean many things. And as THR points out, it is unclear if Singer is still attached to the film. But it seems public pressure — Millennium was inundated with phone calls, emails, and letters following the Singer announcement — weakened the company’s resolve to make the picture in the next year. Perhaps they believe the criticisms will die down or they are working out an exit strategy with the filmmaker.
Nonetheless, we want to see another Red Sonja film; just not one directed by Singer.