Jackie Chan has a ready answer when asked about his toughest stunt in Shanghai Noon, a comic western he is currently filming in Alberta. “Always English,” laughs the Hong Kong-born martial arts superstar, who speaks both Mandarin and Cantonese. The actor admits there is more than one obstacle to starring in the period piece being shot on a sprawling ranch about 100 km west of Calgary. “It’s difficult to do new stunts in this kind of movie because you don’t have high buildings to fall from or speeding cars—you can only do some horse things.”
Chan plays 19th-century imperial guard Chon Wong who travels to Nevada to rescue a beautiful princess, played by Ally McBeal’s Lucy Liu. But Liu aside, there isn’t a lot of glamour for the 45-year-old Chan in this East-meets-West horse opera. Trudging around in manure and ankle-high mud, Chan’s character spends much of his time with Fido, a brown-and-white quarter horse with the soul of a dog. The horse sits on its hind legs, licks Chan’s face and rests its head on the actors shoulder. Then there’s the weather. Two days before shooting started, the temperature dipped and snow fell in the mountainous ski country around the ranch. When
A woman of the century
Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, entered her 100th year last week in her inimitable style. Aided only by a silverhandled cane, the beaming royal greeted 5,000 well-wishers outside Clarence House, her London residence, on her 99th birthday. She stood firmly in brilliant sunshine, declining the chair that aides placed behind her, as the band of the Welsh Guards played Happy Birthday. And she received a 41gun salute before presiding over a small
family lunch that included her daughter, Queen Elizabeth, grandson Prince Charles, and great-grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry.
The crowds had come to see a woman whose life spans the whole of Britain’s tumultuous 20th century.
Born the daughter of a Scottish earl in the last year of Queen Victoria’s reign,
Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon turned 14 on Aug. 4, 1914, the day the First World War began. Her 15 years as queen spanned the Second World War,
during which she and George VI stayed in London throughout the German blitz. Her popularity has remained undimmed since then, despite the recent revelation that the Queen Mum, who draws a an annual state allowance I of $1.6 million, has an 3 overdraft of $9.7 million I and no apparent intention of paying it off. Now, the question is: will she make it to 100 and receive the official signed card the Queen sends to all her subjects when they reach the century mark?
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