Naomi Watts had a terrifying first encounter with veteran actress Fay Wray before the silent screen star died last year (04) - because the aged star insisted she wasn't good enough to romance King Kong.

Wray played ANN DARROW in the original 1933 movie and took exception to an Australian playing the part in Peter Jackson's new blockbuster.

Watts recalls, "She was quite fragile and I didn't want to overwhelm her with too many questions but then she'd pipe up and crack some good wisecrack.

"Peter Jackson said, 'This is Naomi, and she'll be playing the new Ann Darrow,' and she snapped back, 'You're not Ann Darrow, I am!'"

Watts feared she'd have to start the film without Wray's blessing, but the late silver screen star soon put her at her ease: "At the end of the night we dropped her at home and she got out of the car, hugged me and whispered in my ear, 'Ann Darrow is in good hands.'

"That really touched me. It was like she was giving me permission to play her and passing the baton."

Wray didn't get a chance to see Watts in the finished remake - she died in August 2004 - a month shy of her 97th birthday.