Kelly Hu, <EM>In</EM> <EM>Case of Emergency</EM> Kelly Hu, In Case of Emergency

Last week, in the wake of the second batch of Idol, ABC opted to shuffle its Wednesday lineup, moving The Knights of Prosperity out of the highly competitive 9 o'clock hour. Fellow freshman sitcom In Case of Emergency, meanwhile, has been left standing pat at 9:30 pm to fight the good fight. checked in with Kelly Hu, who plays a "massage therapist" on the laffer, to survey her sexy new role. But first, an early celebration.... Someone's got a birthday coming up, huh?
Kelly Hu: I do [on Feb. 13].... But I don't know if I want to celebrate birthdays anymore. I'm getting to that age where it's not so fun. [Laughs] Do you tend to get gypped at Valentine's Day, as your gentleman caller tries to kill two birds with one gift?
Hu: I used to have boyfriends like that, but they're all long gone. I have a pretty good boyfriend now. He knows that Valentine's and the birthday are two separate occasions, and he wouldn't even try that. He's too smart. He's sitting next to me, nodding. [Laughs] Turning to In Case of Emergency, has ABC basically advised cast members, "Listen, don't look at the ratings on Thursday morning. They're going to be what they're going to be"?
Hu: Yes, they have. It's unfortunate that we're up against Idol, but somebody's got to be. I think we're a pretty solid show, so if ABC is willing to stick with us, we'll eventually find an audience despite Idol. You've got such a fun, unique role here, and you seem to be approaching it with such relish. I imagine you'd prefer to have a larger audience drinking in Kelly.
Hu: Yeah, it would be great, but we're going to be OK. I think the people who watch the show will enjoy it enough to stick with it, and it will end up growing. Idol is a monster, but its [effect] is not going to last forever. What can we look forward to on ICE? Is Kelly going to be staying in the oldest profession?
Yeah, I think I'm stuck in it for a while. [Laughs] But you know who is appearing, Jane Seymour! She's coming on [starting Feb. 14] as David Arquette's mom, and she is wonderful in the role. I don't know how old she is, but Jane Seymour, in lingerie, is more than worth tuning in for. She does a character much like [she played in Wedding Crashers], spending half of the time running around in skimpy lingerie and stuff. She looks great, and she is so funny. Yeah, she seems to have entered this "I am older woman, hear me roar" stage in her career.
Hu: [Laughs] I like that stage! You've given me something to look forward to now. Is Kelly drifting romantically toward Harry (played by Jonathan Silverman)?
It kind of seems that way, yeah, but there are some twists and turns toward the end of the [13-episode] season that will really surprise people. Because it looks like she and Jonathan are going to be getting together.... Do we have any idea how much Kelly charges?
Hu: Apparently it's $30 to "walk the dog," whatever that means. [Laughs] And it's $50 extra for girl-on-girl, because "it takes longer." What sort of doors opened for you after playing X-Men 2's Lady Deathstrike?
Hu: I definitely gained a loyal fan base. Anytime you do one of these comic books that has a huge fanbase, you get these people who are fans for life. I get to go to Comic-Con, sign autographs, stuff like that.... I love it! I still get the willies every time I see her lifeless eyes "glaze over" with the adamantium....
Hu: You know, what was really funny is that they had these white contacts for me to wear, and in that one scene where I close my eyes and open them, I heard a gasp from the people behind the cameras. The contacts had gotten lost in my eyes! It was really scary. And then when she "clanks" onto the bottom of the tank....
Hu: They were trying to have me actually do that, but no matter how hard you try, no matter how much you exhale, there's no way you can sink that fast. So they had a dummy of me made, to sink down to the bottom like that. There's a life-size duplicate of Kelly Hu out there somewhere?! Who's got it, and how much do they want for it?
Hu: I'm afraid to know! [Laughs] Hugh Jackman — always the gentleman?
Hu: Always the gentleman. Such a sweet guy. Love him. Do you have any new films in the pipeline?
Hu: Shanghai Kiss just got picked up for distribution, and I play a girl from Shanghai, so I do the accent and everything. And also I have a small part in The Air I Breathe, where I get to do a fun scene with Brendan Fraser. Funny enough, I actually play a Korean madam in a strip joint. [Laughs] Typecasting alert! What was it like reading the script for that first scene of yours in ICE? I can't even imagine what the stage direction said: "She appears to be 'doing something' below Harry's waist"?
Hu: It actually was much more graphic than that, but being network television, you can't actually show exactly that motion, in case kids are up late watching. So I did this funny sort of circular motion. My girlfriend's 4-year-old daughter thought that Auntie Kelly was "washing her hands." [Laughs] Well, we'll let her keep thinking that.
Hu: Yeah, I know!

Speaking of ABC comedies, the Feb. 5 issue of TV Guide has some great Desperate Housewives scoop. Check it out!

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