LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A director of the popular "X-Men" films, Bryan Singer, has been accused of drugging and raping a teenage boy in California and Hawaii in the late 1990s, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. court.
The lawsuit filed on Wednesday, just weeks before the release of Singer's upcoming "X-Men: Days of Future Past," alleges the 48-year-old used his influence as a Hollywood insider as well as a range of drugs and alcohol to force anal and oral sex on the boy.
Michael Egan seeks unspecified damages and a jury trial after wide-ranging abuses at California and Hawaii house parties beginning in the late 1990s, according to the civil action filed in Hawaii federal court.
Singer's attorney, Marty Singer, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In a statement to trade publication The Hollywood Reporter, he said the lawsuit was "without merit" and "absurd and defamatory."
"It is obvious that this case was filed in an attempt to get publicity at the time when Bryan's new movie is about to open in a few weeks," Singer added in the statement.
"X-Men: Days of Future Past" will open in U.S. theaters on May 23 and is distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is expected to be one of the top grossing films of the year with a projected opening weekend haul of $103 million, according to Boxoffice.com.
Singer, who directed "X-Men" in 2000 and its sequel "X2" in 2003, is also signed on to direct the next installment in the franchise, "X-Men: Apocalypse," for Fox, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The film is scheduled to be released in 2016.
The suit accuses Marc Collins-Rector, a former entertainment business executive and registered sex offender, of initiating the sexual abuse by arranging for Singer to meet Egan at "notorious parties" in Encino, California, around 1998.
"The parties were typically sordid and featured sexual contact between adult males and the many teenage boys who were present for the parties," the lawsuit said.
Egan, from Nevada, moved to the Los Angeles-area when he was 14 or 15. He was paid at least $1,500 per week by Collins-Rector's former entertainment company without any clear job, as well as sent on private jets "to attractive locations," the suit says.
Collins-Rector could not be reached for comment.
Egan was also allegedly threatened by Singer and other men who told him they "controlled Hollywood and would destroy his hopes and dreams of an acting career if he did not keep them happy", the lawsuit said.
Egan, then 17, was flown to Hawaii on at least two roughly week-long trips in 1999 where Singer allegedly provided him with drugs and booze and assaulted him in a number of non-consensual sexual acts.
Singer, a producer and director known for television shows and movies such as "House M.D." and "The Usual Suspects" also promised Egan roles in an X-Men movie, commercials, among other projects, the lawsuit said.
Egan and his attorney will hold a news conference on Thursday at 2 p.m. (2100 GMT) in Los Angeles.
(Additional reporting by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Mary Milliken and Andrew Hay)