WASHINGTON - Celebrated martial-arts director John Woo told Radio Free Asia (RFA) the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have turned him away from the violent blockbusters that made him a household name-toward more hopeful, meaningful projects instead. The attacks "have influenced the U.S. movie industry. It�s made us feel that when it comes to violent movies there should be some control," Woo said in an interview, broadcast on RFA's Mandarin-language service March 11. "We should have some changes. We should instead make movies with encouraging stories, stories that give people hope and (promote) mutual understanding," he said. Born in China's southern province of Guangdong in 1946, Woo was a major action director in Hong Kong before immigrating to Hollywood to direct Jean-Claude Van Damme in Hard Target in 1993-becoming the first Asian to direct a major Hollywood production. His other big-screen credits include Broken Arrow in 1996 and Mission Impossible 2 in 2000. Woo's earlier Chinese-language films-florid and violent-included The Killer (1989), A Bullet in the Head (1990), and Hard-Boiled (1992). Woo described himself as deeply moved by the Sept. 11 attacks and "impressed by the way people of various ethnic backgrounds helped each other." "This encouraged me in my current project, which contains absolutely no violence. It tells a story of genuine friendship and honest humanity. It's about the early years of American history, when Chinese and Irish immigrants worked together to build the railroads," he said. "It tells the story of how Chinese immigrants worked side-by-side with Irish immigrants. Of course there were frictions and misunderstandings, but ultimately they found a way to work together and contribute to the building of the United States," he said.