Martial arts superstar Jet Li has described his terror, running from the Indian Ocean tidal wave last month, reports

The “Hero” actor was holidaying in the Maldives with his family, when the tsunami hit the coast line and caused widespread death and destruction to the surrounding countries. At a celebrity fund-raiser concert in Hong Kong, Li told the audience, “The waves came really quickly and formed swirls. I carried my daughters and pulled my maid and ran. I’d only walked three steps when I realized that the water had already come up to my waist.

“When I looked back, everything I saw minutes ago was gone,” he continued. “Everything was surrounded by the ocean. The houses collapsed. I continued to run but the water was already up to my mouth.”

Li and his family managed to find life jackets in their hotel as they waited for a second round of bigger waves to hit the island. Li has donated $158,000 to the tsunami relief fund and marks the tragic event as a defining moment in his life.

“Some things I dared not do in the past, I am ready to do them now.”

In related news, ailing Czech supermodel Petra Nemcova has returned home to Prague after spending two weeks in a Thai hospital recovering from injuries sustained in the tsunami.

Nemcova was vacationing with her photographer boyfriend Simon Atlee in the Thai island resort of Phuket when the tidal wave destroyed their beach hut. The beauty was rescued after reportedly spending eight hours clinging to a palm tree. Atlee is still missing.

– Knight Ridder Newspapers

Duff donating for tsunami

NEW YORK (AP) – Teen actress-singer Hilary Duff is donating a portion of all ticket sales from her sold-out “Most Wanted” tour to aid tsunami relief efforts.

“I, just like everyone else, have watched this terrible tragedy and feel so sorry for the children and the families who have lost so much,” Duff said in a statement Monday. “I want to do everything I can to help those that have survived.”

Duff, 17, will give the money to Kids With a Cause, which helps children who suffer from poverty, hunger, sickness, lack of education, abandonment, neglect and abuse. The “So Yesterday” singer and “A Cinderella Story” star will present the check to officials at the United Nations in March.

Actress takes ‘Wicked’ fall

Idina Menzel, the Tony-winning star of “Wicked,” fell through a trap door during the Saturday matinee of the Broadway musical and cracked a lower rib, reports The Associated Press.

The show, a prequel to “The Wizard of Oz,” was halted for about 45 minutes while Menzel’s understudy, Shoshana Bean, prepared to go on.

Bean also played the Saturday evening performance and the Sunday matinee, which was to have been Menzel’s last performance after a more than 16-month run in the show.

In Sunday’s final scene, Menzel, wearing a track suit because her injury prevented her from getting into costume, went on stage for about 30 seconds of dialogue and singing. The audience applauded Menzel after a curtain call.

“I love you all,” Menzel said. “It’s been the best year of my life. Thank you.”

Menzel, who won the 2004 actress-musical Tony for her performance, shortly begins filming the movie version of “Rent,” in which she will recreate the role of Maureen, the part she played in the original Broadway production alongside her husband, actor Taye Diggs.

– Knight Ridder Newspapers

Harry headed to Broadway

Harry Connick Jr. will star next season in a Broadway revival of “The Pajama Game,” one of musical theater’s biggest hits of the 1950s, reports Billboard Online.

Connick will play the role originated in 1954 by John Raitt, according to Jeffrey Richards, a co-producer of the revival. Richards called Connick “an actor of enormous charisma and skill, a wonderful singer and a bona fide star.”

The performer – as well known lately for his role as Leo, the duplicitous husband on the NBC sitcom “Will & Grace,” as he is for his music – will begin rehearsals after Labor Day. The musical will open sometime in November, Richards said.

“The Pajama Game,” with a score by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, tells the story of labor unrest in an Iowa pajama factory and the romantic involvement between the plant supervisor (the role Connick will play) and a union activist, portrayed in the original by Janis Paige.

No other casting has been announced, although Richards said the production will be directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, currently represented on Broadway by Wonderful Town.

– Knight Ridder Newspapers

Kilmer took several takes

Usually, actors are proud of nailing a scene in one take, thinking it makes them look the height of professionalism. But not so with Val Kilmer.

While filming Oliver Stone’s “Alexander,” there were certain scenes he purposely kept flubbing, reports.

With Angelina Jolie taking on the role of his on-screen wife, Kilmer wasn’t overly fastidious about getting their love scenes right the first time round – in fact, as he got near the end of the action, he’d screw it up.

“My role consisted mostly of sharing a bed with Angelina Jolie and throwing her around in it, which is about as much fun as it is possible for a man to have,” he said.

“Don’t tell her or Oliver Stone this, but when we were doing the really sexy bits, I kept messing up my lines on purpose. I would get right to the end of the scene and then mess up the last bit so we would have to do it again.

“I spent four months doing that all day and someone paid me millions of dollars for the pleasure.”

– Knight Ridder Newspapers

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