Former X-Men and Bohemian Rhapsody director Bryan Singer will not be relieved of directorial duties on Millennium's Red Sonja despite the four new claims of sexual assault and misconduct surrounding the filmmaker, THR has learned.
"I continue to be in development for Red Sonja and Bryan Singer continues to be attached," producer Avi Lerner said in a statement published via THR.
"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."
Lerner, a producer on the Expendables franchise, was himself sued in 2017 when a former employee accused Lerner and Millennium Films of impropriety and subjecting the employee to "a discriminatory, harassing and misogynistic work environment, hostile to female employees."
Citing more than 50 sources, the journalists behind the new Singer exposé published in The Atlantic report the director had sex with boys aged 15 and 17, while another, Victor Valdovinos, alleged he was sexually assaulted by Singer on the set of Apt Pupil when Valdovinos was a 13-year-old extra. Singer was in his 30s at the time of the reported crimes.
Responding to the allegations published in The Atlantic, Singer said the claims amount to "vendetta journalism" before calling the viral story a "homophobic smear piece" that was "conveniently timed to take advantage of" the success of Bohemian Rhapsody.
He was previously fired from the Queen biopic — a Golden Globe winner for Best Motion Picture - Drama now nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture — as result of "unexpected unavailability," following reports Singer disappeared from set for days on end.
Singer boarded Red Sonja in September under producers Lerner and Joe Gatta (Conan the Barbarian, Out of the Furnace) and Cinelou's Mark Canton (300, Escape Plan) and Courtney Solomon (Dungeons & Dragons).
The Usual Suspects and X-Men: Apocalypse filmmaker directs Red Sonja from a script penned by Ashley Miller (Fringe, X-Men: First Class) in a project Millennium hopes will see the same success won by Warner Bros.' Gal Gadot-led Wonder Woman in 2017.
Singer stands to earn a fee of up to $10 million for directing Red Sonja, headlined by the comic book character long dubbed a "She-Devil with a Sword." An ally of Conan the Barbarian, Sonja was co-created for Marvel Comics by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor Smith at the height of the sword-and-sorcery era.
Red Sonja is depicted in the original comic books as a survivor of rape.
The sexual assault aspect of her backstory was later removed when Sonja's origin was rebooted in 2014 by Gail Simone, a comic book author who famously coined the term "Women in Refrigerators" to describe a trope of killing, maiming or depowering female characters as plot devices to serve the story of their male counterparts.
Millennium Films has yet to mark a release date for Red Sonja.