Bryan Singer, the director of the X-Men films and The Usual Suspects, has denied raping a 17-year-old boy and forcing him to take cocaine in 1999.

Mr Singer is accused of forcing Michael Egan III into sex during parties in California and Hawaii when Mr Egan, then a teenage actor, was 17.

Attorney Marty Singer said the legal action, filed in Hawaii on Wednesday, was “absurd and defamatory”.

“We are very confident that Bryan will be vindicated,” said Marty Singer.

“It is obvious that this case was filed in an attempt to get publicity at the time when Bryan’s new movie” – superhero sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past – “is about to open in a few weeks.”

Court documents claim: “Defendant, Bryan Jay Singer manipulated his power, wealth, and position in the entertainment industry to sexually abuse and exploit the underage Plaintiff through the use of drugs, alcohol, threats, and inducements which resulted in Plaintiff suffering catastrophic psychological and emotional injuries.

“Defendant Singer did so as part of a group of adult males similarly positioned in the entertainment industry that maintained and exploited boys in a sordid sex ring. A Hollywood mogul must not use his position to sexually exploit underage actors.”

Mr Egan is seeking more than $75,000 (£44,500) for each of the four charges, listed as battery, assault, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Mr Singer, 48, one of the most successful gay directors in Hollywood, has directed three instalments in the lucrative X-Men franchise, beginning with the first X-Men film in 2000.

His other credits include The Usual Suspects, Superman Returns and last year’s Jack the Giant Slayer.