X-Men is a 2000 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name, distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is the first installment in the X-Men film series. The film, directed by Bryan Singer and written by David Hayter, features an ensemble cast that includes Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Bruce Davison, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Ray Park and Anna Paquin. It depicts a world in which a small proportion of people are mutants, whose possession of superhuman powers makes them distrusted by normal humans. The film focuses on the mutants Wolverine and Rogue as they are brought into a conflict between two groups that have radically different approaches to bringing about the acceptance of mutantkind: Professor Xavier's X-Men, and the Brotherhood of Mutants, led by Magneto.
Development for X-Men began as far back as 1984 with Orion Pictures. At one point James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow were in discussions. The film rights went to 20th Century Fox in 1994 and various scripts and film treatments were commissioned from Andrew Kevin Walker, John Logan, Joss Whedon and Michael Chabon. Singer signed to direct in 1996, with further rewrites by Ed Solomon, Singer, Tom DeSanto, Christopher McQuarrie and David Hayter in which Beast and Nightcrawler were deleted over budget concerns from Fox. X-Men marks the Hollywood debut of actor Hugh Jackman, who was a last-second choice for Wolverine, cast three weeks into filming. Filming took place from September 22, 1999 to March 3, 2000, primarily in Toronto. X-Men was released to positive reviews and was a financial success, starting the X-Men film franchise and spawning a reemergence of superhero films.
In 1944 German-occupied Poland, 13-year-old Erik Lehnsherr is separated from his parents upon entering a concentration camp. While attempting to reach them he causes a set of metal gates to bend towards him, as though attracted by a magnetic force, before being knocked out by guards. Decades later, Senator Robert Kelly attempts to pass a "Mutant Registration Act" in Congress which would force mutants to publicly reveal their identities and abilities. Present are Lehnsherr, now known as Magneto, and the telepathic Professor Charles Xavier, who privately discuss their differing views on the relationship between humans and mutants.