|Karen David stars in Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior. Left, the poster art for the film graces the cover of the DVD box.
Karen David's father peeked at the poster for The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior -- his daughter's first starring role --and turned shy and awkward.
"He was trying to find a politically correct way of telling me," the 26-year-old David confides with a grin in a Sun Media interview. "So he said: 'You ... are ... ummm ... fuller!' He was so embarrassed!"
You might have guessed by now, we are talking about David's breasts. In life, she is an attractive, perfectly portioned young woman who is poised for stardom in music and film.
On the Scorpion King 2 poster, this emerging Canadian talent is a busty Amazon babe, having been enhanced from a 32B to a 34D. Just like Kate Hudson was for the Fool's Gold poster.
That's Hollywood. "I didn't mind," David says. It's about expectations. For a B-movie such as the Scorpion King sequel -- debuting straight-to-DVD tomorrow -- there is a heightened fantasy element, including the sensuality of her Layla character.
When David went for her costume fittings, she was strapped into a corset. "It looks nice but is actually quite hard to get into," David says. "They have to pull the strings and rope you up. But I looked healthy and normal and felt good."
Director Russell Mulcahy (Highlander, Resident Evil: Extinction) was unhappy, however. "I need more Hollywood!" That meant the costumers had to strap David in even tighter.
"Next thing I know, these things are popping out!" David says, giggling. "I looked in the mirror and started laughing because it leaves no room for the imagination, right? I came out and Russell said: 'Perfect!' It was just so funny, the difference in the span of a couple of minutes -- just popping out and hoping it was going to stay that way."
David says the sexy look is right for her kick-ass Layla, an empowered female. "I think the two kind of go together in my character. I find that what is sensuous about her is the fact that she has daggers strapped around her thighs and swords on her back and she's wearing leather."
In the movie -- which stars Michael Copon as the hero, David as the heroine and mixed martial arts fighter Randy Couture as the macho villain -- David plays a scrappy girl who grows up to challenge the warrior prowess of Copon's character, even though both are on the same side.
"She is such a feisty character," David says, "and she has got a lot to prove. She wants to prove to herself, as well as to the guys, that she can be just as good a black scorpion as a guy can. She couldn't be a black scorpion soldier because she was a girl. But she didn't want to live within the confines of what was expected for women at the time: Get married to a wealthy sheep merchant and have 10 babies. She was like: 'I'm having none of that!'
"So, with Michael's character of Mathayus, there is this underlying tension between the two because they were childhood friends and they haven't seen each other for a good 10 years because he's been off training. When she sees him, there is a kind of smug jealousy because he is getting decorated by the king and she is thinking: 'Ha! I can whip his butt!'
"She is fearless and she just wants to go and prove to herself that she can make something of herself, which is something I can relate to."
For David, who scored small roles in bigger films such as Batman Begins and Flight of Fury, that meant intensive training. First, she did it for the British action film The Colour of Magic, in which she played the warrior princess, Liessa the Dragonlady. Then came the Scorpion King shoot in South Africa.
Even buffed after months of training, David found the going tough when she tried to do as many of her own stunts as possible. "I now have a newfound respect for all those actors who do action films."
Shooting the Greek arena fights for Scorpion was the most harrowing, she recalls. "I remember coming back to my trailer at 5 in the morning thinking: 'If anyone says this is glamourous, they are so wrong!' But the end results, when I saw the scenes, were just spectacular!"