‘X2’ panel a sign of
things to come at UH

Some of the talent behind Hollywood's latest blockbuster, "X2: X-Men United," addressed a standing-room-only University of Hawaii crowd last night in a panel discussion that also served to promote the school's much-anticipated film program.

The program's founding co-director Chris Lee used his pull as a former executive for TriStar and Columbia Pictures to bring out a couple of friends from "X2" -- director Bryan Singer, writers Michael Daugherty and Dan Harris, and actor Shawn Ashmore -- to talk about the movie and their working relationship, sign autographs and answer questions before more than 600 people at the UH-Manoa's Campus Center Ballroom.

(Ashmore was a last-minute replacement for cast member and local girl Kelly Hu, who opted to chat with Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show" in Los Angeles last night.)

In his opening remarks, Lee said he and his guests would later have dinner with Gov. Linda Lingle and UH President Evan Dobelle.

In comments beforehand, both Lee and Singer said that the "X2" director would be an advisor for the university's Cinematic and Digital Arts Program, which is tentatively scheduled to start this fall.

"Bryan's an old friend of mine," Lee said, "and this is a good event to expose what we intend to do with the film program. Bryan himself is a graduate of the USC film school, and with his experience, he can help form a curriculum that would make our program really meaningful. He's a good role model."

Lee said he hoped this kickoff event portends well for the fledgling program. He said he hopes the UH Board of Regents will approve the program after he makes a presentation to them next week.

Lee met Singer when Lee's studio helped make "Apt Pupil," the film that Singer made after his 1995 critical and commercial hit "The Usual Suspects."

During the panel, Singer talked of an "unspoken synergy between Hawaii and L.A." that could be developed with a local film program.

"I wouldn't be opposed to coming out here to help Chris in between work, because our relationship is so unique and strong. And because of my experience in both independent and mainstream filmmaking, I can help bring my own unique views to the program."

University of Hawaii


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