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The X-Men 2 panel
by JoBlo


Who was there?
Director Bryan Singer

As if James Cameron giving us a piece of the upcoming SOLARIS wasn't enough, Fox reps came out to present an even more anticipated project to the adoring comic book audience, as director Bryan Singer, once more, got up on stage at the San Diego Con to present us with his insights into the production of X-MEN 2. Bryan had shown up at the 2000 San Diego Comic Con to thank everyone for their support of the film as it had just opened the weekend prior to over $57 million. This time around was like "old hat" to the man, who looked and seemed more relaxed than his last time out. He did still look like a 15-year old boy, but that's besides the point.

So he starts off by telling us that he has been shooting the second flick for about 3-4 weeks now up in Canada, and that everything is going pretty swell. He said that everyone from the first film was back, in terms of the main players and actors, and that all of the same characters would return, and some new ones would show up as well. "Things get tense and more lives are put in jeopardy", is all that Singer could say about the script, which he says he is trying to keep as secretive as possible (a lot like director Jonathan Mostow had told the crowd earlier in reference to the TERMINATOR 3 script). One man who did manage to get his hands on a copy of the script was the ultimate movie geek spy on the Net, Moriarty over at AICN, and for anyone who is interested in reading his thoughts on what he read, click here.

But before the floor was opened to a Q&A for Brian, he said that he had put together a 1-2 minute clip of some scenes from the film that he'd already shot. He re-iterated the fact that no special effects had been added just yet, and that they had only been shooting for about 3-4 weeks, so he asked that we not put too much credence into the clip, which he had just put together. Needless to say, expectations were quite low for the clip and boy...were we ever fooled!!

Now either Brian and Fox didn't really know what they had on their hands or they were just "playing" us because the 2-minute clip that I saw (as well as the rest of the audience) was quite the kicker of ass!! It almost seemed like the film's final trailer with an awesome tune in the background, amazing cinematography, a much darker, sleeker look, all of the characters back for more, a tete-a-tete between Professor X and Magneto at the chess table, cool explosions, planes flying, SE7EN-ish artillery men walking through the X-mansion with goggles and lights on their guns and a WHAM ending, which featured Wolverine (aka Hugh Jackman) running straight for the camera and shouting. All very cool. From what I saw, more of the film seemed centered in the mansion this time around, but then again, maybe that's all they had shot up till now. Wolverine still looked as awesome as he ever did, and the whole thing seemed (to me, at least) as a step up from the original (which was more of a "set up" anyway). The clip ended with a psychotic looking Magneto (aka Ian McKellan) looking up and saying "The war has begun", to which Professor X replied, "Eric, what have you done?". Wham-bam-thank-you-guys!

After the clip was shown, the crowd erupted into wicked applause, and let me tell you...it was the longest applause session that I'd heard all weekend. Bryan seemed elated on stage, and everyone from the Fox reps to all of his hanger-ons seemed ready to blow the guy, right then and there. All in all, a good time. Once the audience simmered down, they went right into the Q&A, from which I picked up these items:

  • In terms of X-MEN 3, Bryan said that "things in this film will be laying the groundwork for things to come, but I can't give you any more specifics than that." That's actually something that he would repeat quite often during his stay on stage. He did say that there would be some "Wolverine issues" involved in this sequel and that the origin would also be explored.

  • Which new characters are in X-MEN 2? Singer admitted to a few namely Nightcrawler (played by Alan Cumming) and Yoriko, who he said was a lesser known character. He also said that there would be a lot more going on with the younger characters (like Iceman, Kitty Pride and Rogue), which would ultimately lead into things in the 3rd chapter as well.

  • When asked about either Beast or Gambit showing up in this installment, Bryan hesitated and wouldn't say much about it.

  • When asked how he could prevent spoilers from reaching the Internet, Singer said that he couldn't really prevent that kind of stuff himself, and that he personally didn't have the time to check into those types of things, but that every now and then, he gets this pile of printed items from AICN, Dark Horizons, etc... put on his desk and looks them over. He said that he, personally, didn't like having "event pictures" ruined for himself, so he hoped that others would also avoid those kinds of things. To this, the crowd applauded, while dozens raced to their laptops to let Harry and Garth know about what he just said... ;)

  • Bryan was also asked whether or not he would be giving Halle Berry more of a role as Storm, now that she'd won the coveted Academy Award for her part in MONSTER'S BALL, and apparently she too had approached him with her golden statuette, placed it before him and jokingly said, "I want more!". Singer seemed heartbroken about this question because he said that it was "extremely difficult" to cover every single character deeply in a movie like this, since it's ultimately more about the ensemble. He did say that she would have more to do in this sequel though.

  • When asked about either Juggernaut or the Danger Room making an appearance in the film, Singer replied, "No."

  • As for the new villains? Singer was, once again, very elusive in his response but did point out that the Brotherhood's leader was in prison, so there might be-- "..but I can't really say." Do with that, what you will.

  • When asked about the X-MEN dvd re-release, Singer admitted to not knowing much about its details, since he was head-over-heels into the production of the sequel, but did say that a good friend of his, the same dude who handled the re-release of THE USUAL SUSPECTS special edition dvd, was taking care of this one as well. He said that there would definitely be more "making of" stuff, how they did certain things, etc..., but didn't know much more at this point.

  • When asked whether or not he would be doing the Jean Grey saga, Singer said that "this wasn't it" but that there was always that possibility later down the line.

  • Would he ever work with Christopher McQuarrie again? "Of course, I'd love that opportunity." Bryan said that he considered Chris as one of the best writers that he'd ever worked with and that he was sure that they'd eventually do something else together in the future. McQuarrie and Singer are old friends from high school, and worked on Bryan's first film together entitled PUBLIC ACCESS (which McQuarrie co-wrote and Singer directed) and THE USUAL SUSPECTS, for which McQuarrie won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay.

  • Singer also said that Rogue and Bobby Drake would have much more to do in this sequel and that their little "thing" would continue.

  • As for the Sentinels? Singer said that they had actually drawn up some early designs for the Sentinels but that it was more for the future, and not for right now.

With that, a dude got up and asked if we could all see that extra-kick-ass clip of X-MEN 2 again, and being as Bryan was ready to bolt anyway, he asked them to set it up once more, to which he got even more applause. All in all, one of the more successful panels in terms of starting some great hype about a flick, but not a lot of inside info, which is all good by me, since I don't dig on spoilers either.

Click here to check out the official X-MEN 2 website

Check out the film's teaser trailer here
  

SAN DIEGO COMIC CON 2002


The Arrow and I went down to San Diego for yet another awesome COMIC CONVENTION this year (check out our 2000 and 2001 reports respectively), and let me tell you...there was a lot of shit going on and lots of cool and surprising cameos. Starting Wednesday, each of the panel coverages will go up, so check out what's to come below. And yes, the always popular PHOTO GALLERY will be up on Friday.

The Hellboy panel:
Writer/director Guillermo Del Toro, actor Ron Perlman and writer/artist Mike Mignola discuss the upcoming comic-to-film project, as Del Toro sneaks a few dozen "fucks" in there before the panel's first 10 minutes is up.

The Bulletproof Monk panel:
Actor Seann William Scott and actress/babe Jamie King sit down and discuss their collaboration on the upcoming THE BULLETPROOF MONK, which also co-stars the very cool Chow Yun-Fat.

The House of the Dead panel:
Writers Mark. A. Altman and Dave Parker discuss the 2003 release of yet another video game making its way to the big screen: THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD. And what's this about a VAMPIRELLA movie? Stay tuned.

SONY/COLUMBIA

The XXX panel:
Actress/babe Asia Argento hops on stage and tells us a little something about herself and her upcoming movie with a certain Vin Diesel. Does Vin show up unexpectedly?? (only in my dreams... ;)

The Tooth Fairy panel:
Actress/babe Emma Caulfield discusses her upcoming foray into genre flicks with TOOTH FAIRY, and the Arrow takes a few moments to discuss the film with director Jonathan Liebesman. Tooth-pulling ensues.

NEW LINE

The LOTR: The Two Towers panel:
No footage was shown but we did get a couple of bits tossed our way, as well as some cameos by Frodo, Pippin and Merry themselves (aka Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan).

WARNER BROS

The Ecks vs Sever panel:
Actress/babe Lucy Lui sits next to actor/Darth Maul Ray Park and director Kaos (who explained the origins of his name) to discuss their collaboration with the man with the golden cock, Antonio Banderas, in a little something called BALLISTIC: ECKS VS SEVER (and yes, it's also based on a video game).

The Dreamcatcher panel:
Actor/all-around cool guy Jason Lee and actor Timothy Olyphant get on stage to field some questions about the film which they are presently shooting, based on a Stephen King novel, entitled DREAMCATCHER, but are instead pelted with questions about Kevin Smith movies and requests to repeat cool quotes from said flicks.

The Terminator 3 surprise:
Unbeknownst to most, director Jonathan Mostow was nice enough to drop by the Con, in order to show off a few minutes of the highly anticipated sequel to the sequel of THE TERMINATOR. Another "small" cameo dropped by to pay his props to the fanboys, a gentleman by the name of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

UNIVERSAL

The Hulk panel:
Director Ang Lee and producers Gale Anne Hurd, Larry J. Franco and Avi Arad stop by to show us some stills of the 2003 release of THE HULK (that's right, no actual footage or pics of the green monster...darn!) and answer some questions.

FOX

The Solaris surprise:
Yet another big surprise came in writer/director/king of the world James Cameron showing up for a quick Q&A about the upcoming sci-fi flick SOLARIS (which he produced and Steven Soderbergh wrote and directed), as well as a 4-minute clip from the actual movie, starring George Clooney.

The X-Men 2 panel:
Director Bryan Singer was nice enough to leave his Vancouver set of X2 and come down to Diego for some questions from the audience and to show us the coolest 2-minute clip that I saw all weekend. Wow!! The man apparently has only been shooting from about 3-4 weeks, but from what we all saw of the clip...this movie looks like a fuckin' slam-dunk!

The Daredevil panel:
This was one of the biggest panels with writer/director Mark Steven Johnson leading the pack, alongside DAREDEVIL himself, Ben Affleck, as well as producer Avi Arad, Gary Foster and comic guru Joe Quesada. Yet another exclusive clip was shown from the movie, and it will also be discussed.

The official 2002 JoBlo.com Photo Gallery:
Pictures from our trip to California / Vegas for anyone who gives a shit. Here are the links to last year's photo gallery and the one from 2000.

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