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Singer, Bryan (b. 1965)  
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The homophobic basis of the suits was revealed by attorneys Marty Rub and Peter Gordon, who emphasized that Singer and some other members of the production crew were "known homosexuals" in documents that they filed as part of a joint suit on behalf of two of the youths. In court papers, Rub and Gordon also falsely claimed that some of defendants were "known or ." Ten television stations in the Los Angeles area immediately publicized the charges brought against Singer and others involved in Apt Pupil, and the story was also aired nationally by Johnnie Cochran's Court TV show.

The claims made by the youths and their parents were challenged by the other extras involved in the scene. For instance, the other youths maintained that all the extras had been informed in advance that they might be filmed in the nude and that, on the day of the filming, everyone was given the option of appearing clothed in a locker room scene, rather than in the shower scene.

Extensive investigations into the allegations were conducted over the course of eight months by the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office and by the Sheriff's Department. In December 1997, both these agencies reported that the claims of inappropriate behavior were totally without foundation.

Despite the controversy, Singer left the shower scene in the movie because he realized that it was crucial to the development of the story. However, before the film was distributed, he re-filmed this sequence, using adult extras.

In an interview with Charlotte O'Sullivan, Singer discussed the impact of this event: "It is interesting, but not when you've lived it. Not when someone points a finger at you and your life, and the media, if only for a moment, listen and the gossip arises. . . . Back then, I was relatively young in my career, so it was much more traumatic."

X-Men and X-2

In contrast to Apt Pupil, Singer's next two films--X-Men (2000) and X-2 (2003)--were blockbuster hits. Based on the popular Marvel Comics characters, both films featured lavish and often astonishing special effects, achieved in part through the use of advanced computer imaging. However, as he emphasizes in his commentaries on the DVD editions, Singer did not want to depend primarily on technology because he worried that it might literally take over the films. Whenever possible, he utilized live action in order to ground the scenes in reality.

Perhaps even more importantly, Singer encouraged the actors to endow their characters with great emotional depth. As a result, X-Men and X-2 have a psychological intensity unusual in blockbuster films. In her compelling study of the philosophical implications of the films, Bonnie Million emphasizes that as a result of Singer's revision of the comic series, the characters become more complex individuals who respond to fundamental moral challenges in distinctive ways.

Like the comic series, X-Men and X-2 concern mutants who possess extraordinary powers. Only a few of the mutants--most notably, Logan, called Wolverine (Hugh Jackman)--had been created through human experimentation. Most developed through a natural process of evolution and, thus, could be regarded as higher forms of life. However, many people regard the mutants with fear and loathing because their special powers seem beyond human control.

In both films, prominent American politicians and government officials attempt to confine and even eradicate the mutants. Hopeful that human beings will one day learn to live in harmony with mutants, Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) tries to promote understanding between the two types of beings, and he runs a school, intended to help young mutants to use their powers in ways that will be acceptable to humans. However, Xavier's efforts are opposed by Magneto/Eric Lensherr (Ian McKellen), who leads a group of rogue mutants, determined to eradicate the human race. A survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, Lensherr is understandably skeptical about the possibility of human reform.

Obviously, the stories of individuals persecuted because of their unique qualities have relevance for individuals and groups who have been stigmatized because of perceived differences from what is defined as normal. However, while having wide appeal, Singer's films have had an especially strong resonance among queer viewers.

Like closeted gay people, the mutants can live undetected among "normal" people, if they choose to do so. Although some mutants--for example, Onoro Munro/Storm (Halle Berry), one of Xavier's followers--strongly oppose the practice, many believe that they must conceal their true natures if they are to survive.

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