THE Los Angeles-based actress, Yancy Butler, is paying a flying visit to Hong Kong to promote her film, Drop Zone, which opens here on Friday. The 24-year-old who made her motion picture debut opposite Jean Claude van Damme in John Woo's Hard Target has been staying at The Regent. Butler appears to have led a charmed life. Straight out of college, she landed two television series before moving into movies. 'It sounds like a great life and it is,' she said, looking every inch the top-notch stunt skydiver she plays in her latest role. In order to achieve her athletic appearance, she had to get up at 4 am for the duration of the shoot and work out for two hours before getting to the set. 'It was my job, and it's not that hard to be physically fit,' she said. Drop Zone, directed by John Badham, stars Wesley Snipes as an undercover agent who tries to infiltrate a gang of daredevil skydivers. In order to do this, he needs the help of one of the world's best stunt divers, played by Butler. 'She's a strong character, a strong presence in the script,' said the actress, who hadn't actually jumped from a plane before accepting the role. 'I did it immediately afterwards and it changed my whole life. However, they wouldn't actually let me jump during the shoot, because of insurance agreements.' Yancy, which is a native American name taken from a 'name your baby' book, is the daughter of a Broadway theatre manager and the drummer for 60s band, The Loving Spoonful. 'I knew what show business was about all along,' she said. 'I worked for my mother in the theatre and I saw what happened with my dad - that you could earn an incredible amount of money, as he did, and lose it all when you're not the flavour of the month any more. I know it's travelling and being on the road the whole time. I'm aware that it's not always glamorous.' So, when she went to college, she studied 'everything but acting; anthropology, English literature, psychology'. But she still came back to the trade, landing the role of a robot in the television series Man and Machine and becoming a hit-woman in South Beach. Then Woo and Van Damme came calling for Hard Target. 'It was odd, to be working on a movie where neither the director nor the main star spoke English as their first language,' she said. 'But I reckon John Woo speaks more English than he lets on, for whatever reasons he chooses. I could tell after a while what John wanted. He's such a genius that he could communicate with me a lot better than most directors I know.' Her role in Hard Target was slammed for being too bimbo-like. 'In the script she wasn't strong,' Butler said. 'I was criticised for that, but how else could I play her? She had to be helpless, why else would she be led around by the hand?' She stresses that she doesn't have the perfect life - even though it might seem that way. 'On the downside, I have no time for a pet, a lover, or any personal friends,' she laughed. 'See? You really can't have everything.'