"Would you care for a drink, boy'"--Kurt Dussender (Ian McKellen) to Todd Bowden (Brad Renfro) "How about milk'"
- Todd to Dussender
"Boy, be careful. You play with fire."
- Dussender to Todd
"Who is this Edward French' A headmaster'"--Dussender to Todd "No, he's a guidance counselor."--Todd to Dussender "What is that'"--Dusseder to Todd "He guides and he counsels. You read the letter."
- Todd to Dussender
"You can't do this Todd."--Edward French (David Schwimmer) to Todd "You have no idea what I can do."
- Todd to French
Rolling Stone - 11/12/1998
Sight and Sound - 06/??/1999
"...A highly assured piece of storytelling..."
Entertainment Weekly - 11/06/1998
"...[Singer throws] baroque cinematic touches into this disturbingly Stephen King tale..."
New York Times - 10/23/1998
"...Mr. Singer makes this a handsomely shot, stunningly edited feat of gamesmanship..."
Box Office - 11/01/1998
"...A powerful and disturbing movie, APT PUPIL delivers a brilliant performance from Ian McKellan..."
Los Angeles Times - 10/23/1998
"...The subject and the outstanding performances of Brad Renfro and Sir Ian McKellan give APT PUPIL a magnetic grip on the audience..."
Based on the novella by Stephen King, director Bryan Singer's follow-up to THE USUAL SUSPECTS is a harrowing psychological thriller about the relationship that forms between a boy and the neighbor he discovers is a Nazi war criminal. After a brief lesson in history class, star pupil Todd Bowden (Brad Renfro) becomes obsessed with Hitler and his followers. Through extensive research, he discovers that the infamous Kurt Dussender (Sir Ian McKellen) has been hiding out, living a normal life in his own neighborhood. But instead of reporting Dussender to the authorities, Todd decides to use him to gain further knowledge...everything that the history books won't tell him. But who ends up using whom, and what happens when a susceptible young mind encounters true evil, leads to a surprising, taught, and unsettling suspense film.
Interested in the novella since he was 19, Singer worked closely with screenwriter Brandon Boyce to bring this compelling story to the screen. Filled with the same touches that are hallmarks of his previous films--careful editing, use of small spaces to evoke tense atmospherics, terrific cinematography, and stellar acting--the film is a disturbing exploration into the seductively dark side of human nature.
APT PUPIL is a harrowing psychological thriller about the relationship which forms between a young boy and the neighbor he discovers is a Nazi war criminal. The film is based on the novella by Stephen King.
Theatrical Release |
Theatrical release: October 23, 1998.
At age eight, director Bryan Singer (who is Jewish) started a "Nazi Club" with his non-Jewish friends, because of their interest in WWII and the Nazis. The club was disbanded after his mother found out and, horrified, explained to him how terrible and offensive the idea was to her.
Singer screened APT PUPIL for the Simon Wiesethal Center at the Holocaust Museum in Los Angeles, California, before its release. The center gave the film their support and recommendation.
Sir Ian McKellen also starred in Singer's following film, X-MEN, as Magneto, a militant mutant whose parents were killed by Nazis.
Rick Schroeder and Nicol Williamson were first slated to star in a version of APT PUPIL in 1987, directed by Alan Bridges. The film was never finished because of budgetary and production problems.
The number on Todd Bowden's letterman jacket, 85, is the same as the year Bryan Singer graduated high school (1985).
Todd's high school mascot (the Pirates) and school colors (green and gold) are the same as Bryan Singer's alma mater: Windsor-Plainsboro High School in Central New Jersey.
Bruce Davison, who plays Todd's father, starred in a 1981 TV movie called THE WAVE, about a high school teacher who tries to teach his students how easily Nazism took hold of Germany, by conducting his own experiment in fascism within the class. The film is based on a true story.
Screenwriter Brandon Boyce appears in Singer's debut film, PUBLIC ACCESS.