The Bulletproof Babe * Academy Awards Absentee Ballot * Prada’s Proxies

Not only does she sometimes go by two names in real life — James King when she models, Jamie King when she’s in a movie — but in the upcoming comedy, “Bulletproof Monk,” La King plays a dual role: “Bad Girl,” a renegade street-kid gang member who evolves into the alluring and mysterious “Jade,” a young woman who finds that her true purpose and meaning in life is to help the Monk (Chow Yun-Fat) save the world!

This story first appeared in the March 14, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

For the role, Jamie, who began modeling at 15, went through strenuous training for months, spending six to seven hours a day learning gymnastics, kung fu, tae kwon do, Hong Kong street fighting and how to do battle while balancing on a wire.

She says that is one of the reasons she wanted the part. “It’s so physical and the idea of acting and doing all that challenging stuff really appealed to me. I’m pretty athletic, and I feel it’s a cool thing to incorporate something like this into your craft. I had a great time, and your body really looks incredible after all that training.” Not that it was exactly Flab City before. See for yourself when “Bulletproof Monk” opens on April 16.

Rachel Weisz is getting all the attention as the only woman in a sea of men in her upcoming crime thriller, “Confidence.” She beat out some of Hollywood’s finest to co-star with Ed Burns, Andy Garcia and Dustin Hoffman, who plays a smarmy crime boss. Rachel had the experience of a lifetime being the only female in the cast because she finally had the chance to find out what’s on every woman’s mind — what men talk about when women aren’t around. “If you are a girl, you always imagine what men say about women when they aren’t around, and I found out,” she says. “It’s completely disgusting and foul-mouthed.” Actually, she was just kidding. She just loves Ed, Andy and Dustin and thinks they’re great fun and wouldn’t say a thing behind their backs. She also wants to work in Hollywood again.

As of right now, Jude Law has decided not to favor this year’s Oscar ceremony with his presence. It’s a big change, since he had planned to be there to support his “Road to Perdition” co-stars Tom Hanks and Paul Newman, who is up for Best Supporting Actor for his role as a mafia godfather. Officially, Jude’s reason is that he is going to be on location in London filming “The World of Tomorrow,” a science fiction thriller with Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie. Unofficially, it’s because it’s his close friend Nicole Kidman’s big moment, and neither one wants the persistent talk of their affair, which they both deny profusely, to get in the way. “No, we are not an item,” Nicole says, hoping that the focus on her Oscar nomination for “The Hours” “will not be overshadowed by all these false rumors.” Heaven forefend.

Russell Crowe says you won’t be seeing him on the red carpet this year, either. He went a little crazy last year when he lost out for his role in “A Beautiful Mind” to Denzel Washington in “Training Day” and after the awards he gave such a wild party in his suite that he was banned from the hotel forever. Of course, there are other hotels all over the place, but this year he has his eye on another prize. He and Danielle Spencer are planning their April wedding on his ranch in Australia, where he is building his own chapel for the occasion. Last week, the lovers flew to Milan to visit Giorgio Armani to approve the designs for Danielle’s wedding dress and Russell’s suit. He covered his eyes with a blindfold rather than break tradition and see his bride’s gown before the wedding. That is so sweet.

Norah Jones, who won eight Grammys this year with her album, “Come Away With Me,” is talking marriage with her boyfriend, Lee Alexander, who says, “We’ve talked about a married future together, and proposing would be the perfect way to celebrate her Grammy success.” No word on what her father, the sitar player Ravi Shankar thinks, and considering he and Norah don’t really speak much, Norah probably doesn’t care much.

Miuccia Prada loves Hollywood and stylish movies so much it’s really no surprise that her Miu Miu store in Los Angeles will for the third year in a row give a party for the IFP/Los Angeles Film Maker Labs ,which supports the careers of emerging young film makers. This happens tonight and hosting for Miuccia, who is in Milan making plans for her new store in Tokyo opening this month, will be such as Adrian Brody, Kirsten Dunst, Amanda Peet and Jake Gyllenhaal. They and lots more just like them will get to check out Prada’s new men’s and women’s collections for summer. It’s just off the boat, so to speak.

Mai Harrison, the Palm Beach chairman of the New York Botanical Garden, and her co-chairmen Muffy Miller, Jessie Araskog and Mrs. Dudley L. Moore Jr. hosted garden tours at the home of such local perennials as Julia Koch and Katie Ford. At the end of the day, they had a party at the Brazillian Court, where they tasted goodies from the hotel’s soon-to-be-opened Café Boulud and admired the flower-filled garden and fountain designed in 1925. This legendary hotel, which is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation, has welcomed everyone from Marjorie Merriweather Post to Gary Cooper and Cary Grant. The whole gathering was a fundraiser for the New York Botanical Gardens’ Spring Gala.

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