It was 6 o’clock in the morning in Sydney, Australia, when Bryan Singer called from the land Down Under to chat about the many hats he wears. The 39-year-old executive producer of Fox’s House was sitting in his car sipping coffee before getting to work on his current directing project, Superman Returns, next summer’s Man of Steel blockbuster-to-be. Singer, who also directed The Usual Suspects and the first two X-Men movies, was only too happy to talk about the cranky Dr. House and the unlikely sex symbol who plays him.
TV Guide: What can we expect in Season 2 of House?
Bryan Singer: There is going to be a lot more sex next season.
TV Guide: Really? With Stacy, Sela Ward’s character? At the end of last season she was still married.
Singer: Sela is coming back for six and possibly more episodes. But House also has a relationship with Dr. Allison Cameron [played by Jennifer Morrison], which is strange territory in terms of their physical natures. He is really acerbic and she is young and seemingly idealistic. So there is the relationship with both women, who have both been hit with the House Effect: "I love him, I hate him. I feel sorry for him. He is a bastard."
TV Guide: When you directed the pilot, did you have any idea that the show would be so successful?
Singer: I don’t think anyone could have predicted that something so different, for lack of a better phrase, would do so well. The Hugh Factor had an impact, even though he is not an enormously known quantity on [American] TV.
TV Guide: TVGuide.com did a poll last spring asking viewers who were the sexiest doctors on TV, and Hugh Laurie was at the top of the list.
Singer: For some strange reason, I am not surprised. As acerbic… and craggy as [the character] is, when Hugh taped the audition from Africa, where he was shooting Flight of the Phoenix and his hair was grown out and he really looked beaten down, I truly believed he saved lives. And just look at his eyes — they are magnificent.
TV Guide: Coming from a film background, was it difficult to adjust to TV?
Singer: Well, I made The Usual Suspects in 35 days, so I am experienced in moving quickly. But the first thing I had to adapt to in TV is that it was about the characters; there are only small moments when it was about my style.
TV Guide: You're directing Superman Returns and producing House — how do you do it all?
Singer: When I am away from House I get rough drafts of every script, I look through the rough cuts, participate in casting issues. But that’s not all [I'm up to] — I am about to shoot a miniseries about the Bermuda Triangle.
TV Guide: Hugh Laurie was supposed to play "Daily Planet" editor Perry White in the movie. What happened?
Singer: He was until [House] got so popular. Now he has high-class problems. Frank Langella [who took his place] is terrific. And Brandon Routh [the new Superman/Clark Kent] is really great. He’s the guy — emotionally, mentally and physically. One minute you have Clark Kent and the next minute you have the Man of Steel.