One of the most emotional scenes in director Bryan Singer's X-Men: Apocalypse comes early in the film, as Magneto (Michael Fassbender) finds his life in isolation completely disrupted, as a group of police officers accidentally kill both his wife and daughter. It's a big moment that ultimately makes the Master of Magnetism more easily swayed when the titular villain comes knocking - but what you don't know is that there is an extended version of the sequence, and the part that was cut out was one of the hardest filmmaking decisions that Singer has had to make in his career.
Bryan Singer talks at length about the scene in the audio commentary attached to the digital release of X-Men: Apocalypse, and explains why it was so damn hard to cut a portion of Michael Fassbender's performance. Originally, the sequence featured Magneto tearfully reciting a lullaby in Polish to his dead wife and daughter, and it was such a powerful moment that it emotionally affected everyone on set. Unfortunately, when it was mixed into the full edit of the movie, it didn't quite work as well as the director wanted it to. Said Singer,
In the scene individually it is heartbreaking. As the collected experience, when you watch it in the movie, it felt to the audience like you were pushing for too much emotion, like going too far. And so I cut the scene, but to this day it's one of the most heartbreaking cuts and I owe Michael an email to explain why I made the cut, and it will be on the DVD.
Unlike the unused post-credits sequence featuring a tease for Deadpool 2, this particular moment is indeed included among X-Men: Apocalypse's deleted and extended sequences on home video. Magneto's recitation of the poem comes after he has killed the police officers with his daughter's locket, and after his screams to the heavens asking if this is the fate that the universe wants for him (which producer Simon Kinberg notes in the commentary was improvised). Bryan Singer says in the commentary that filming the scene was a truly powerful experience that left people on set watching stunned and moved. Said the director,
It was one of the most beautiful things, and I cried at the monitors. [Co-producer Jason Taylor] grabbed a Kleenex; [Simon Kinberg], who very rarely shows emotion, [was] completely emotional. And I remember after the scene happened, Michael finished the scene, I walked across the woods, and I hugged him. And I held him and said, 'Thank you for that gift. Now I need you to do it again [laughs].' Because I have to move the cameras! He said, 'Yeah, sure, no problem!' And he did it again and it was amazing, and it broke my heart.
Going further, Bryan Singer calls it "the most emotional moment [he's] ever had on set of a film [he's] made" - which is pretty huge when you consider the major weight that his best movies carry. You can now see the sequence for yourself as part of X-Men: Apocalypse's digital release, but for those of you holding out for the Blu-ray/DVD, you'll be able to pick up a copy on September 24th.