Tom DeSanto: In The Eye Of An X-Storm

Interviewing the co-producer of Fox's original X-Men movie

Despite how cool all the official X-Men 2 propaganda has been, rumors have sprung up that all is not well in the world of Mutantkind. In the last week, reports of trouble on the set have been running rampant through the media, not just movie websites. According to the story circulating, director Bryan Singer showed up on the set having taken a non-prescription painkiller, making the day’s shooting rather erratic.

Stepping into the situation, so the story goes, was executive producer (and long-time Singer friend) Tom DeSanto, who allegedly chewed out Singer’s Driver for giving the director the Drug. Tensions escalated to the point that Singer wanted DeSanto off the set and off the film.

Rather than allow that to happen, the cast banded together in support of DeSanto. At one point, if the story is to be believed, Halle Berry got angry enough to tell Singer to osculate her dusky derriere, only not quite in those words.

Is it possible? Could the stress of shooting such a high-profile and eagerly anticipated film cause such a breakdown?

To be fair to Singer, if you read recent pieces on the film, you’ll notice that he has either recently sustained a back injury or had an old one flair up. Either way, it’s been painful enough for reporters to make note of it. So the man could very well have been in need of a painkiller. And we all know such things can muddy the vision.

Fights do get out of hand, especially among old friends. But it seems a far cry from the optimistic director I interviewed back in August.

As for Tom DeSanto, he has been in the shadow of Singer for a while, but has often seemed content to be so. Just after the release of the first X-Men, I met DeSanto at the San Diego Comics Convention and interviewed him for the late Daily Radar.

It seems as good a time as any to dig the interview out of the archives and present a side of the man who is now at the center of rumor.

DeSanto1

Derek McCaw: First off, please settle an argument we’ve been having. Did Cyclops mean to hit Magneto, or did Jean Grey guide that shot?

Tom DeSanto: (loudly into the tape recorder, for the benefit of this reporter’s friend who wouldn’t believe him) Scott meant to hit Magneto.

DM: (vindicated) THANK YOU!

TD: That was the big thing in the comic adaptation. Wolverine uses his claws to destroy the machine; he was working alone. But during the re-shoots we gave this idea to Bryan (Singer, director) about Cyclops getting a shot on Magneto, taking Magneto out which freed up Wolverine so that he could destroy the machine.

If Wolverine were working alone he would have failed, which is basically Wolverine’s arc. He couldn’t do it by himself.

DM: There were a lot of weird rumors on the internet about the film, and you guys are starting to talk about working on the sequel. What weird rumor would you like to spread now?

TD: Let’s spread the rumor that it’s going to be Granny Goodness and Arcade teaming up in the sequel.

DM: So Warner Brothers is going to get involved in this one in a co-production?

TD: Yes. And we will have nipples.

DM: That’s producer Tom DeSanto committing to nipples. Excellent. Did you see The Specials? It satirizes the personal life take, which you guys did.

TD: No, but it looked funny. Of course if it’s a good movie it will stand on its own. I wish them well. The funny thing is that when we were in pre-production, all of a sudden this movie, Mystery Men geared up, and there’s this character Mr. Furious. I’m like, oh, no, this is a disaster. They’re parodying Wolverine before we make the movie. But fortunately it was unique unto itself.

Using only the art of shadow puppetry, DeSanto does his Wolverine impersonation.

Using only the art of shadow puppetry, DeSanto does his Wolverine impersonation.

DM: And Mr. Furious had existed in comics before.

TD: Yes.

DM: You are a long time fan, let’s get that on the record, so you know what you’re talking about.

TD: I know the Flaming Carrot (the book where the Mystery Men originated). Geez, I’ve got twenty thousand books my parents keep trying to remind me of.

DM: My wife’s making me sell mine.

TD: Ow. Sell some of them. Don’t sell all of them.

DM: So when’s the sequel coming out?

TD: I don’t know. I want a nap.

DM: You worked with Bryan on his other films. Do you guys want to do something else in between?

TD: It depends on the story.

DM: Or do you just want to sleep for six months?

TD: I want to sleep for a little bit, but I think it’s in both our bloods. We’ll see. I think Bryan has the best answer. We finished the movie three weeks ago, so it’s tough to start talking about a sequel.

DM: Or even anything else.

TD: Yeah.

DeSanto2

Of course, we now know that the sequel will be out on May 2, 2003, and despite a few announced plans, DeSanto and Singer did not do anything else in the interim.

For a while the two were attached to the revival of Battlestar Galactica, but Singer pulled out and DeSanto seems to be off the project. Though when I saw him this summer, he did say he was willing to talk about it. Tom, we’re willing to talk about it, too…

a portion of this article originally appeared in Daily Radar in August, 2000

Facebooktwittergoogle_plus
About Derek McCaw
In addition to running Fanboy Planet, Derek has written for ActionAce, Daily Radar, Once Upon A Dime, and The Wave. He has contributed stories to Arcana Comics (The Greatest American Hero) and Monsterverse Comics (Bela Lugosi's Tales from the Grave). He performs with ComedySportz San Jose and ShakesBEERience, in addition to occasional screenwriting and acting jobs. If you ever played Eric's Ultimate Solitaire on the Macintosh, it was Derek's voice as The Weasel that urged you to play longer. Email him at editor@fanboyplanet.com.