David Carradine's new role

April 1, 2008 5:39:46 AM PDT
David Carradine doesn't mind acting his age because, at 71, he's getting "this nice little pile of quality movies" in which he plays an assortment of "really tough old men."

His latest project is "Son of the Dragon," airing Wednesday and Thursday on the new Hallmark Movie Channel HD. Carradine plays Bird, mentor to a young thief who pretends to be a prince so he can woo a Chinese princess.

"My character changes so much throughout the story," Carradine told the Hallmark Channel. "You've got this fierce warrior who resolves never to draw his sword again and then leads this sweet, peaceful life, taking in all these homeless kids. It's almost like I had a Clark Kent/Superman thing going: a mild-mannered guy with a secret life."

Among his upcoming projects: "Chatham," in which he plays a crusty sea captain who falls in love with a younger widow played by Mariel Hemingway.

"I'm too old for the parts I did 35 years ago," Carradine said. "But instead, what I get now with this nice little pile of quality movies that are all waiting to be released, is this assortment of really tough old men."

Carradine is perhaps still best known for his role as a Shaolin priest traveling the American frontier West in "Kung Fu," which aired 1972-75.

His "Son of the Dragon" character has several touches that are uniquely Carradine.

"There's a scene where I literally fight myself, another version of me," he said, "which is something I did on the original `Kung Fu.' That's a moment my die-hard fans should instantly pick up on."