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Kelly's eyeful; She casts spell on The Rock.

Byline: JOHN MILLAR EXCLUSIVE

HIGH-KICKING Kelly Hu is set to cast a spell over moviegoers as the sorceress Cassandra in The Scorpion King.

The former beauty queen appears virtually naked in the pounds 40million spin-off from The Mummy and the Mummy Returns.

Kelly, 34, bewitches wrestling superstar The Rock in the fantasy adventure which opens here on Friday.

And while having to wear the skimpiest of outfits in front of a crew of 150 caused embarrassing moments, the Hawaiian stunner reckons it's a small price to pay for finally making her big movie breakthrough.

"I wear a lot of gold body paint and long green long nails and not much else," she says.

When we met in Los Angeles, Kelly admitted her toughest challenge came on the very first day of filming.

That's when she and The Rock had to plunge through a pool of water with Kelly wearing her skimpiest outfit.

"I was practically butt naked," she says with a laugh. "I was only wearing a flesh coloured G-string and pasties, which are like stickers that you stick on yourself and that's about it. They don't even qualify as clothing."

But Kelly, 34, stresses that even if it looks as though she's wearing nothing but a smile in The Scorpion King, she's never actually in the all-together.

"That's movie magic because I wasn't really naked. Everybody seems to think I am, though. But if that's what it takes for people to come and see the movie then, OK, I'm naked."

Filming in temperatures of 100 degrees and more in the Arizona desert meant there were disadvantages to being so under-dressed.

Kelly said: "Running around on the sand in bare feet meant your feet were blistering. That was probably the most uncomfortable part of filming.

"That and having to ride the camel. I'm not joking when I say that riding a camel should not be done in so little clothing! It was just horrible."

The Scorpion King star is a real rags-to-riches story. Her mother raised Kelly and her older brother Glen on her own.

She said: "I was raised with no money - not even enough to go to the movies. Now here I am doing these movies.

"I owe my mother everything. She is responsible for so much of who I am. She had to have three jobs to pay for school, dance class and acting lessons."

All mum's efforts started to pay off when Kelly was elected Miss Teen USA when she was only 16.

She said: "It opened a lot of doors for me. I won pounds 50,000 and pounds 50,000 in prizes. It was a dream come true. That gave me the confidence and the money to try for an acting career. If I did not have the cash, I don't know if I would have been brave enough to try." But being a beauty queen wasn't all hearts and flowers. Kelly admits jealously and back-stabbing is rife.

"When you have 51 beautiful women locked up in the same room for two weeks, there's bound to be a little trouble. Why do you think I took up martial arts?" joked the karate black belt.

"I once I had a dress stolen when I was out on stage competing. And a girl left her dress overnight and the next day all the beads had been shaved off."

Since the beauty queen days, she has appeared in several TV series and films.

One of her early movie roles was in Oliver Stone's The Doors when she played the wife of a keyboards player.

"That was the first time I had been on a huge budget film. It was awesome, I didn't even know who The Doors were," she told me.

"Before the audition I had to ask my friends who The Doors were. When I met Oliver Stone he asked if I was a big fan of The Doors and I said I hadn't known who they were but I went to the library and looked them up.

"He thought that was pretty funny."

Now Kelly is much more switched on and her movie career is really taking off.

She is starring opposite kung fu action man Jet Li in the thriller Cradle 2 The Grave and hopes to return as Cassandra in a Scorpion King sequel.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 14, 2002
Words:721
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