Hawaiian beauty Kelly Hu made a transition from TV series roles into hit movies, as she starred in movies like "Scorpion King" and "X-men 2." Kelly Ann Hu was born February 13, 1968, in Honolulu, Hawaii, of Cantonese/English/Hawaiian lineage. Her parents divorced when she was only six years old, and, living with her mother Juanita, Kelly benefited from an upbringing as diversified as her background. While her mother enrolled her in ballet classes and the Sears Charm School, Kelly indulged in other interests on the side, taking karate lessons from her older brother. By age thirteen, she decided to pursue a modeling career, and her fighting skills were sufficiently developed for her brother to make some quick cash betting on her bouts with neighborhood kids. It was this blend of natural beauty and martial-arts proficiency that determined Kelly's path. At the age of fifteen, hoping to give an early boost to her modeling career, Kelly entered the Miss Teen Hawaii pageant. The results exceeded even Kelly's expectations, as she went on to win the pageant and qualify for the national competition. In 1985, Kelly was crowned Miss Teen USA, becoming the first Asian-American to do so. Kelly's victory afforded her a bit of fame and, with it, a number of opportunities.
She soon made her acting debut in a season premiere of Growing Pains, playing Kirk Cameron's love interest, inciting jealousy and rage amongst millions of teenage girls. Immediately following her graduation from high school, Kelly left Hawaii to model in Japan and Italy. Kelly returned from overseas five months later determined to pick up where she had left off -- in pursuit of a serious acting career. She had $75,000 at her disposal (her winnings from the Miss Teen USA pageant, along with a Mazda RX-7 and a speedboat), which she invested toward moving to Los Angeles. When Kelly arrived in LA, she was the portrait of youthful naiveté, convinced that superstardom was just around the corner.
Her first order of business was taking out a full page ad in Variety announcing her availability for "West Coast representation." Kelly's arrival didn't have quite the impact that she had envisioned, and although she did get a number of calls from agents, hers wasn't the name on everyone's lips. Nonetheless, Kelly did manage to land roles fairly regularly, which is more than your average Hollywood waitress can boast. She appeared in a string of commercials, from Bud Light to Ivory soap, and an equally random assortment of TV programs and movies, including 21 Jump Street, Night Court, and a role as one of Jason's victims in Friday the 13th VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan. Kelly returned to the pageant circuit briefly in 1993, winning the title of Miss Hawaii and qualifying as a Miss USA finalist. She then returned to LA to resume her somewhat sporadic career, appearing alongside Leslie Nielsen in Surf Ninjas, and as the girl who tends to a vomiting Meg Ryan in The Doors.
Throughout her trials in Hollywood, Kelly continued her martial-arts training. Her talents in this field helped her land her first recurring role in 1997, in the action series Nash Bridges. Soon thereafter, Kelly found more regular work on the daytime soap Sunset Beach, although her character was written off that same year. In 1998, Kelly earned her brown belt in karate, and was offered a role in a new kung fu cop series, Martial Law. The critical reception to the show wasn't entirely warm, but the program did win the loyal following of a number of viewers, who seemed especially inclined toward Kelly's character, Detective Grace Chen.
By the series' second season, Kelly was sharing top billing in the credits. Yet even as her popularity was increasing, the shows' ratings were plummeting. Shortly after Arsenio Hall was cast into a regular role (a move that some may have cited as the kiss of death for the series), Martial Law was canceled. Martial Law may have been a failure from its producers' perspective, but the program did wonders for Kelly Hu. Having showcased her beauty and fighting abilities to a television audience, she soon became a staple in men's magazines and Internet celebrity sites. Kelly has achieved a high degree of visibility without any hit series or movies under her belt. She'll be starring alongside WWF superstar The Rock in the summer 2002 feature, The Scorpion King (a spin-off of The Mummy series), and we may just see what a blockbuster will do for Kelly Hu's already successful career.
More fun facts about Kelly Hu
Has a black belt in Karate and can use a Japanese sword.
It wasn't a given that Kelly Hu would get her own action scene in THE SCORPION KING.
Enjoys potential breakout recognition from THE SCORPION KING.
The Hawaiian actress -- who previously earned mostly TV credits for parts in series including SUNSET BEACH and NASH BRIDGES -- is next cast opposite Jet Li in Warner Bros.
Announced that she will be performing in the play Vagina Monologues in Honolulu, her hometown. (May 2003)
Her older brother is a Captain in US Army.
Loves to swim
Mother works as a Draftsperson for city and county of Honolulu.
Father works as an Exotic Bird Feeder.
Co-owned a fast food restuarant, Basic Bites, with her boyfriend.
Landed the lead role on the tv series 'Martial Law' in 1998. Unfortunately, the series was canceled after its second season.
Got the #14 spot on the Maxim hot 100 for 2003
Hobbies: Karate, Swimming, Rollerskating
Nominated for Best Fight at MTV Movie Awards for X2 (2004) – shared with Hugh Jackman
Kelly Hu always had good luck with men
She was the scantily clad sorceress in the Rock's Scorpion King and kicked butt alongside Don Johnson on Nash Bridges. In X-Men 2, out this May, she goes claw to claw with Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. But the man she owes it all to is none other than the charming Mike Seaver.
"My very first role was playing a tour guide on Growing Pains, when the family went to Hawaii," says Hu, who grew up in Honolulu. "Kirk Cameron fell for my character; everyone I knew loved Kirk then, and the show was a huge hit. It got me a SAG card and that extra bit of confidence I needed to run off to Hollywood."
She knew long before her sitcom debut that her name belonged in lights. "I told my mom when I was four that I was going to be a superstar. She was like, 'Yeah, right, just finish school first,' " says Hu, whose résumé also contains less noble ventures (like Surf Ninjas and a series of Italian commercials for Philadelphia Cream Cheese). "My mom tried to talk me out of acting because the chance for success is slim, but once she realized I was dedicated, she did everything she could to support my dream."
After becoming the first Asian-American to claim the Miss Teen USA crown, Hu landed an agent and started working on such projects as The Doors, Strange Days, 21 Jump Street, Night Court, Melrose Place and The Bold and The Beautiful.
"I moved to L.A. at the time when every agency needed a token Asian client. Being Asian has helped and hindered my career. There are fewer roles for Asians, but there's a lot less competition for said roles."
The yoga and Pilates addict says being a black belt has added to her workload. "Just because I'm Asian, people think I started training as a child, but I got into it in my twenties. I did it as a hobby, but it has helped me land a lot of roles. Action directors are excited to find a girl who can kick as much butt as the leading men."
Kelly Hu: Hollywood new star
How an ambitious teen beauty queen from Hawaii got started on the road to becoming a Hollywood sex symbol.
All I need is my resume and good head shots and I'll finally be ready," proclaims Kelly Hu, former Miss Teen USA, as she lowers her sunglasses to check out a half dozen pages of modeling slides against the midday sun pouring in through the windows of the Santa Monica Cafe Casino.
"I'm really excited," she says. "I'm entering the Miss Hawaii USA pageant. The actual competition isn't until October 24th, but I'm starting to get ready now. I'm in the process of trying to gather sponsors. That's why I'm putting all this together." She waves her hand across the pile of letters, magazine articles, layouts and slides. "I'm so excited about it. It's the preliminary to Miss USA. The national pageant isn't until February of '93, so I've got at least a year to get my act together."
Hu is no stranger to beauty pageants. At the age of 16 she won the title of Miss Teen Hawaii and then went on to win the national Miss Teen USA crown. That was quickly followed by acting credits that include roles in The Doors, Family Ties, 21 Jumpstreet, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man and numerous commercials and magazine layouts.
"It's just something I've wanted to do for so long," she says. "As Miss Teen USA one of my prizes was automatic entry into the Miss America pageant, but I was only 17 at the time and I knew I wasn't prepared then. I would have been competing against girls who were anywhere from 18 to 25. I've been obsessed with it for the past eight years. I need to get it out of my system before I get too old."
Now 24, Hu is taking this challenge seriously. She's even made a lifestyle change. "I've started waking up early. Well, eight thirty, nine o'clock is early for me anyway. And I've started working out. I'll turn on Madonna really loud and bounce around my living room for an hour or two. My roommate just laughs. She thinks I'm nuts anyway."
She has also gone back to a childhood passion--rollerskating. "I used to rollerskate competitively when I was a kid, but I never was any good. We competed like they do on ice skates. We did jumps and spins, like in freeskating, and figures and dance and speed. I even played hockey once, but I got smashed in the face with the ball and decided 'never again!'"
She's also begun a new diet regimen. "I was a vegetarian for a little while, a nd it felt pretty good. I read this book called the Vitamin Bible. I was in this health phase. Some people experiment with drugs, I experimented with herbs and vitamins. I kind of OD'd on vitamin A and I turned completely orange. Worse than that, I was drinking chlorophyll, which was part of this diet. It was supposed to give you energy, and my pee was green! I swear to God, I was scared. I guess I overdid it a bit. I never went back to vegetarian or health diet.
In fact, it was another change of skin-color that put an end to her early modeling aspirations.
I used to go to the beach a lot when I was a kid. In fact I used to tell my mom that I was going to church on Sunday, and I would wear my swimsuit under the muumu and then go to the beach with friends. I'd spend the whole day at the beach, then put my muumu back on and go home. My mom couldn't understand why I was getting so dark. My mother would go nuts because she's Chinese and she didn't want me to get dark. Chinese think that fair skin is more beautiful, but then I didn't care."
Hu started to care at the age of 13 when she started looking for modeling jobs. "The first thing the agent asked me was 'Is that your natural skin color?' My mom jumped in and said, 'No, it's not!' The agent told me I had to lose my tan."
It took over a year for Hu's tan to fade. Then she signed up for the only modeling class she could afford. "My mom pretty much raised me by herself, and she didn't really have a lot of money. She sent me to the cheapest one around, the Sears Charm School." It paid off. "I know it sounds stupid, but I learned a lot. I think it was because I wanted to learn so much, I was like a sponge. I worked on it a lot."
Her career got its start thanks to a strong demand in Japan for eurasian models. "They were recruiting a lot of girls to spend summers there." When she was 15, Hu decided she would follow in the footsteps of fellow Hawaii native Malia Yamamura who had won first runner up in the national competition the year before and went on to achieve spectacular success in Japan. Hu succeeded too well.
"I won the national title and wasn't even allowed to model for a whole year, which defeated the purpose of entering in the first place. But of course it opened a lot of doors for me."
Speaking of doors, Hu recently had a bit part in Oliver Stone's movie of the same name. She played Dorothy Manzarek, wife of Ray Manzarek (played by Kyle MacLachlin). "If you blinked at all you won't have remembered me. I was in the Thanksgiving and birthday party scenes. I was there helping Meg Ryan...vomit."
Hu's been in demand as a model. She has appeared in commercials for Ricoh Cameras, Ivory Soap, Dole Pineapple, Thrifty Car Rental, Bud Light, among others. The Sears Charm School has indeed paid off.
But even beautiful, successful models have reservations about their looks. Hu confesses to a physical drawback--her left eye. "I have one weak eye, and it sometimes does this"--she rolls her left eye around to the side of her head--"and photographers hate it. They always tell me to watch the eye."
When Hu has a crisis of confidence, she turns to her favorite book, which she calls her inspirational bible--A Guide for the Advanced Soul, written by Susan Hayward. "Whenever you have a problem, you just open it up to any page and your answer is on that page. Most of the time it works. It's incredible!" Hu was turned onto the book by fellow actor Dustin Nguyen of 21 Jumpstreet, and was so impressed that she bought dozens of copies and gave them out to friends. Moderation is not Hu's strong suit.
Her friends are mostly an international bunch--Saudi, German, Dutch. Her current boyfriend is Dutch, which is part of the reason Hu is attracted to him. "He's so easygoing and so understanding about everything. He's not judgemental and he's open to almost anything. I think that has a lot to do with his being Dutch, because the Dutch are maybe the most liberal people in the world, and it really shows."
Hu also has a soft spot for the local Los Angeles color, and she and her friends are familiar with the Hollywood club scene. "We go to Roxbury a lot. We almost lived there for a while. Sometimes we'd go out as often as three or four times a week, religiously. We were bad."
Some of those revels were disasters. "I like to drink socially, but I'm not very good at it. I get drunk very easily. The group that I hang out with, we're really into Sex on the Beach shots and these things called Mike Tyson shots. Scary. I don't even know what's in them."
Then she stumbled into an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. "I guess I had the wrong room, but I sat in anyway because it was so interesting and I thought I had something to learn. It was almost like I was sent there." She stayed for the whole meeting. "I learned to be sympathetic to people who are affected by alcoholism. I learned so much about myself and was reminded to be that much more thankful for the things I have. There are people out there who are alcoholics, drug addicts, who have the AIDS virus, and are still working toward bettering themselves and helping other people.
"I said to myself: Here I am being depressed over something stupid like a bad hair day or a bad skin day.' I have no business thinking that way." The run-in with AA changed her clubbing habits, and pressuring someone to have a drink will never again figure in her socializing agenda.
The room Hu had been looking for that day was that of a group called Project Angel Food, a charity with which Hu has been associated for some time. They make and deliver dinners for AIDS patients, and Hu has worked in the kitchen on occasion.
Hu has adapted quite well to California, but remains at heart an island girl. "I think Hawaii is one of the few places in the world that has almost no prejudice. I have never come across prejudice once. People are intermarried and you don't define your friends by where they're from. People have six, seven, eight races mixed up in them, nobody cares. I think that's one of our best attributes, the fact that people there are so open and so liberal." Who could be a better spokesperson as the next Miss Hawaii?
Kelly Hu is an action hero star
We couldn't resist, and neither should you. After all, the thirty-five-year-old ex-beauty queen has been enduring puns like that one for years now. Since leaving Honolulu for Hollywood, Kelly Hu has exchanged her Miss Teen USA and Miss Hawaii sashes for a black belt in karate and an acting career. If you missed her role as Sona in Cradle 2 the Grave or as Cassandra the Sorceress in The Scorpion King (she was that scarcely clothed form glistening alongside the Rock), don't dismay. She'll be slashing through the screen as a razor-clawed mutant in this month's X2. But the smoky-voiced Hu maintains she's more like Martha Stewart than a crazy-ass killing machine. She just opened a health-food restaurant in Beverly Hills, where we sit and shout over the lunch crowd. That's right: Kelly Hu can break your neck and make you a chicken sandwich. What more do you want from your action heroes?
Kelly Hu Again
Iinterview with X-men 2 star Kelly Hu. Kelly Hu is my new favorite celebrity. I know I just said that about Derek Luke, but Hu topped him. When I ran into her at the premiere for Daredevil, she said, "You're a hard worker. You're everywhere." Imagine making such an impact in your work that a celebrity who meets thousands of people every week remembers me out of all of them. Wow.
Amidst several random celebrities, Hu was full of her typical humor. As the crowd of onlookers shouted for the stars, Hu wondered, "Who is that? Are they shouting for Joe Millionaire?" Evan Marriott was in fact in attendance. I was going to ask him if Rick Rockwell was his inspiration, but decided a beautiful Asian comic book supervillain who remembers me from lame interviews' past was more important.
Hu's Daredevil appearance was appropriate because she will appear in X-men 2. She plays Yuriko Oyama, a mutant who becomes the villainous Lady Deathstrike. A publicist from Fox said that Hu does the most stunts of any female in the X-Men cast. I'll let her tell the rest.
For those who don't know the comic, who is Deathstrike? She's really hot. She's sort of the more advanced slicker faster sharper version of Hugh Jackman's character.
Do you do the most stunts of all the female actors? Probably. More than any man too, I think.
What's the biggest stunt you do? I have an awesome, awesome fight with Hugh Jackman. It's great.
What's the hardest part of being an action heroine or villain? I think the most important stuff, it's so hard to train for wirework because it's not like you can get up on wires every day and stuff. I think the most important thing to do is just stay limber and make sure you don't eat before you have to put on the harness. That really helps.
You have to be in a certain physical shape to do the wires? It wasn't even so much about being fit. It was just that the harnesses were so tight, when you back flipped upside down, sometimes the tuna sandwich ends up coming back up again.
If you could have your own real life superpower, what would you like to have? I've said this before. I think it would be really cool to have X-ray vision so you could just see through people's clothing. You could know what you're getting before. [Laughs] I've always wanted to be Wonder Woman, of course. She had the greatest costume and the invisible plane, which I thought was the coolest.
They're developing a Wonder Woman project. Why don't you go for it? I know, but I don't know who's going for it but I don't think it's me.
They should do an Asian Wonder Woman. That could be cool. I think you guys need to start a campaign.
Kelly Hu: Strong and Beautiful
Gorgeous Kelly Hu, a former Miss Teen USA, stars as the sorceress Cassandra opposite The Rock in the new action film The Scorpion King. Kelly is a martial arts expert with a black belt in karate but she's also an elegant, petite golden-skinned beauty who, when we met with her, was dressed very demurely with her long black hair up in a twist. She's total class but can let loose with a wonderful, hearty laugh. She has been seen in countless t.v. guest appearances but this is her first shot at being a leading lady on the big screen. The actress talked candidly of her experience as a beauty queen, wearing skimpy outfits in the film and doing action sequences, working with The Rock and her feelings about role models and advice to would be actresses.
Q: We were happy to see that the women in the film were really strong.
Kelly: That was one of the things that was most attractive to me about this role, the fact that the sorceress was so empowered and she really had control of everything. She really controlled the bad guy and she's the whole reason Rock goes back and battles with Memnon. When I first signed onto the movie my character didn't do any fighting action at all. It wasn't until after I got cast and they realized that I did martial arts and had experience in fighting, they said 'hey, we could get this girl to do this stuff for free. Let's put a sword in her hand' and I said okay! I got to take out a couple of bad guys and it was very fun.
Q: Do you think you could hurt The Rock for real?
Kelly: (laughing) Yeah, with a big old sword and him not having one, maybe.
Q: What was it like working with him?
Kelly: It was absolutely a great experience. I can't tell you enough about how wonderful he was to work with. He was such a gentleman. He was soft-spoken and really sweet, very smart, very aware of his environment and the people around him, very considerate. I had never seen him wrestling but someone brought a tape to the make-up trailer and I got to see him as "The Rock", the guy on WWF and I was amazed. I was thinking to myself, 'who is that guy with all these weird lines 'what's the Rock cooking'? What is that about? It was amazing to watch this guy on a microphone commanding an audience of 20 thousand people in an arena. He was kind enough, at the end of the shoot, to invite a bunch of us to go and watch him wrestle. It was my very first experience at these WWF things. We had such a great time. We were screaming and laughing so hard that I literally launched myself into an asthma attack. I'm a huge fan now.
Q: Were you comfortable with those skimpy costumes?
Kelly: No. The costumes weren't the most comfortable costumes in the world. There was very little of them and I had to be sewn into one of the costumes every day that I had it on. It took me a little while to get used to it but I think the crew eventually got used to me in these tiny little costumes. My very first day of shooting was me, going down the waterslide (wearing very little) and I thought 'it can't get worse than this' (laughs). I guess they did that to me on purpose and it was good. They just got that out of the way so every little stitch of clothing I had after that, I was really thankful for.
Q: When you were doing the beauty pageants was it always your goal to act?
Kelly: I actually got into the beauty pageants because I wanted to model and make some money in Japan. So I entered the Miss Hawaii Teen pageant with that in mind and luckily won the local title but when I went to the nationals, I remember my mom telling me, 'now don't expect to win the national title. America is not ready for an Asian Miss Teen USA'. I thought 'I'm Asian?'. It didn't occur to me that I would be different than anyone else. It was only my goal to make the top ten and I ended up winning the national pageant and the acting just came after that. I always wanted to be an actor but I never associated it with being in a pageant. It think those are two completely different things altogether.
Q: Asian women have often been portrayed as objects but the last few years we have Lucy Liu, Lisa Ling, Ming Na etc. How do you feel representing the Asian community as a leading Hollywood actress?
Kelly: Wow. Now that you said it, I'm really nervous about it. Being 16 and winning Miss Teen USA, was a huge responsibility for me so I've come to hate the term 'role model' because it puts you up on a pedestal and makes you sort of inhuman and I think people choose role models for all the wrong reasons; because they can put a basketball through a hoop, jump high or run fast. There are so many more traits that are more admirable that you never hear about. I happen to be an Asian woman in this industry who is lucky enough to have the success I have to it doesn't mean I'm out there saving lives and coming up with cures for diseases. I'm just an actress, that's all.
Q: What advice would you give to a girl who wants to be an actress?
Kelly: It's hard. It's not for everyone. There's so much rejection, so much more rejection than there is success in this business. You really can not think of yourself as only being an actress. You have to have other facets to your life because, if you really take all of this rejection to heart, it will just kill you. There is a wonderful quote from Kipling 'treat both failure and success as equal impostors'. I think it took me about ten years to figure that out, ten years for it to sink in and for me to understand what it really meant. All the success that I'm enjoying now with this film coming out, it's wonderful and means a lot to me but I can't take it so seriously because it's not all of who I am. The same with a failure. If I judge my life by what other people are judging, then this wouldn't be the business (for me).
Q: Recently two African-Americans won major Oscars. Do you see a day when Asian-Americans will do the same?
Kelly: There is absolutely no reason why that should not happen. There are wonderful roles that are given to a lot of Asians as well, wonderful movies being made all the time. There was one man who won an Oscar for The Killing Fields (a few years ago). People of color are really having much more opportunity than they were before. This role (of the sorceress) that I got cast in, didn't call necessarily for an Asian girl to be a sorceress. There were girls of all ethnicities, all shapes and sizes and I was just the luckiest one that day.
Q: If you look at the film's poster, it's color blind.
Kelly: The entire movie is that way. It's a very international cast. You'll even hear different accents throughout the movie and I think it's wonderful. It's very representative of a culture that I was raised in in Hawaii where you had so many people from all ethnicities living together.
Q: What were the challenges of this role? Was the action a challenge?
Kelly: My role didn't have a whole lot of action to begin with. I had a couple of fight scenes; one with me in the bath was the most difficult for me to contend with because not only am I in a bath holding a sword fighting the Rock but I'm trying to cover myself up at the same time. That was the most difficult challenge of the entire movie but it was, overall, a really great experience. I'm used to doing action so, for me it was really easy. I had been trained in swords before.
Q: How does this compare with the Friday the 13th movie you did way back when?
Kelly: Oh gosh, worlds apart. Here we're dealing with a hundred and ten degree weather and, in that, we were shooting in Vancouver and it was raining and freezing all the time. That was the very first movie I had ever done. I spent most of my time just shopping in Vancouver. I had the best time there. This movie is a huge leap for me. It's done wonders for my career.
Q: What is your fitness regimen?
Kelly: Besides studying the martial arts, I've done a bit of Yoga but mostly I just watch what I eat. I don't have a diet per-se. I don't like to diet but I'm really careful about eating healthy. I have a restaurant where we had an all-natural concept of soups, salads and sandwiches and so I'm really into that whole healthy, all natural stuff and I think that really helps.
Q: What is next for you?
Kelly: I'm currently shooting a film called Cradle to the Grave with Joel Silver and it's starring Jet Li and DMX and I'm doing tons of martial arts in this and some wire work.
Kelly Hu Rocks Cradle 2 the Grave
Martial Law veteran learns wirework martial arts. While promoting her current film, The Scorpion King, Kelly Hu talked about her role in the upcoming Jet Li/DMX/Mark Dacascos film Cradle 2 the Grave. "I play the bad girl," she said. "I kidnap DMX's daughter, or I help to kidnap DMX's daughter along with Mark Dacascos. I do a lot of martial arts and wirework in this film."
Since shooting just began, Hu did not know if she would fight Jet Li in the film but was hopeful. "I think they're going to do a fight with us. They told me that they have and I'm hoping I get to do it."
Cradle 2 the Grave is the second collaboration between Jet Li and director Andrzej Bartkowiak after Romeo Must Die, and DMX's third collaboration with Bartkowiak after Romeo and Exit Wounds. Both of Bartkowiak's previous films have featured wirework martial arts, so Hu is now learning about that technique.
"I've only been hooked up a couple of times, but the first thing I learned is that if you are rigged too high in the waist, your butt will not go over your head," she laughed. "And it's very uncomfortable in those riggings. It's horrible. No one wants to be up there for very long. To be hanging by a couple of ropes and stuff is not very comfortable and it can be really dangerous. They could break you. There's a stunt woman that we work with who got one of her bicep muscles completely dislocated from the elbow part, so it gets really, really dangerous."
Hu costarred with Sammo Hung on the action show Martial Law, but said the martial arts of Cradle is different. "I didn't get to do any wirework at all in Martial Law. [Sammo] has done a little bit of wirework himself, but not as much as you might think because he's pretty handy. He can cartwheel off the hood of a car with no problems doing flips and stuff like that. But in Martial Law I didn't get to do any wirework, so this is a great opportunity for me."
She is enjoying the months of martial arts training in which the film allowed her to participate. "I didn't get to be trained very much in Martial Law as a martial artist because there just was no time. I would arrive on the set, they would say, 'Okay, this is what you're doing,' they would choreograph it right then and there, we'd do it a couple of times and then we'd shoot it. There was no months of rehearsal or anybody training me to do things properly. It was just here it is and then they crossed their fingers. I'm getting the training for the movie now. We're working with a wonderful stunt coordinator named Corey Yuen who's excellent and it's so much fun. Mark is [also] an amazing martial artist, so I'm learning so much."
Even though Hu is a black belt in karate herself, she had to learn Wu Shu for Cradle 2 the Grave. "It's a whole different style of martial arts. Karate is much more aggressive and more masculine looking, whereas Wu Shu which is what you see in a lot of these films now, is more feminine, more rounder, fluid motions, almost like a ballet."
Exotic Beauty Kelly Hu
In addition to being intensely attractive, Kelly Hu is the perfect example of an actress making it in Hollywood despite the odds. Her career had a bit of a rocky start, but her talent and resilience carried her through it all, and we're forecasting her role in The Scorpion King as the big break that she's deserved for a while now.
You watched her lay massive kung fu beat downs on baddies as Detective Grace Chen in the action series Martial Law. This summer you can catch her alongside WWF superstar The Rock, in the action flick The Scorpion King.
Kelly might not be a household name just yet, but with her good looks, kung fu skills, and upcoming lead role in the Rock vehicle The Scorpion King, it seems that her time is just around the corner. We like Kelly because we know that she had to dig to get to where she is today; she didn't have the benefit of any big breaks early in her career to get things kick-started.
Back in the '80s, paying her dues meant taking on some of the least desirable roles around. But Kelly's patience paid off, winning her a regular gig on the TV series Martial Law, which, in turn, translated into a leading role in the much-anticipated summer blockbuster, The Scorpion King.
Whether it's due to her Hawaiian roots or her difficult start, success hasn't gone to Kelly's head, and she remains modest and reserved. If you need any more reasons to validate Kelly as our Actress of the Week, just have a look at her picture.
The consistent television and film work that Kelly has enjoyed (however random the roles) speaks to her acting abilities, while her persistence in landing parts speaks to her personality. Her first few years in the industry could be described as ego deflating, but she stuck to her guns and made a celebrity of herself.
She's also a down-to-earth woman who is reserved about her success and warm to members of the media. As far as her martial-arts talent goes, well, she could certainly show us a move or two.
If you're a female with Hawaiian in your genes, it's difficult not to be sexy. If you have a brown belt in karate on top of that, well, there's just no getting around it. Kelly can claim both of these assets, as well as sizzling looks and ultra-confidence. Yeah, she's sexy. Landing consistent work in Hollywood over the span of fifteen years is an accomplishment in itself, but not the kind that necessarily brings fame. For the greater part of her career, Kelly took on the kind of sporadic, random roles that make an actor's face recognizable, but difficult to place.
While Kelly's credentials include some big-name movies (albeit in small roles) such as 1991's The Doors and Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, as well as the ill fated Surf Ninjas, she has had more substantial television roles. After a short time on the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful, Kelly was cast as Michelle Chan in the Don Johnson detective series, Nash Bridges, from 1997 to 1998. In 1997, she also appeared in the soap Sunset Beach, before her most popular role to date on Martial Law.
Her role as Detective Grace Chen on Martial Law gave her an opportunity to flaunt her karate skills and, in doing so, create her own niche in Hollywood as a butt-kicking hottie. This image won Kelly her upcoming role alongside The Rock in The Scorpion King, which is sure to boost her fame stock substantially. You can't get much more natural than Miss Teen USA. Kelly was blessed with exotic blood, a gorgeous face and a stunning physique. There's no need for cosmetic help or Photoshop when you've got these elements to work with.
Kelly's modeling background seems to have endowed her with a sense of grace and elegance, and she always looks very glamorous. She seems to put a lot of effort into her appearance, and although we can appreciate class as much as the next guy, it would be nice to see her in jeans and a white T-shirt once in a while.