By Nancy Perry Graham
September 28, 1998 12:00 PM

Matt Damon, who has been in Italy shooting his upcoming drama, The Talented Mr. Ripley, turned up at the Venice International Film Festival to promote Rounders, his new movie about gamblers. But unlike his character, a law school student with a passion for cards, Damon himself majored in English at Harvard. So what’s his favorite romantic work of literature? After a bit of hemming and hawing, Damon told us, “Shakespeare’s sonnets.” When asked to name his most romantic experience in Venice, Damon says it was tooling around town with his mom. Quoth he: “To me, she is the most beautiful woman in the world.”

For three consecutive days this fall, Prince Charles, who turns 50 on Nov. 14, will be quite the party animal. Although he was treated to an early birthday bash by his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, at Highgrove, their family estate, I’m told that three more shindigs are in the works: On Nov. 12, Charles will attend a Hampton Court Palace gala; on Friday the 13th, Queen Elizabeth will throw a soirée for hundreds of her son’s closest mates at Buckingham Palace; and on Saturday, he will celebrate quietly with a private dinner for those nearest and dearest, including Camilla Parker Bowles.

Since the death of his wife, Linda, in April, Paul McCartney has turned down all interview requests. So the folks at PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) were surprised when the singer’s office called to offer them an exclusive interview with McCartney for their quarterly magazine, Animal Times. The Q&A with the former Beatle appears in the magazine’s fall issue, which will be published shortly after Linda’s Sept. 24 birthday, and deals mostly with the couple’s vegetarianism. “When I was growing up in Liverpool, we had national service, so I was due to go into the army,” says McCartney. “I was dreading it….

I realized I’d have to learn to kill. So I used to go into the woods and kill frogs. I figured if I couldn’t kill a frog, how was I ever going to bayonet a man? When I realized I was mistreating animals…that was the turning point. I made a decision one day in the woods: National service or not, I’m stopping this. I saw what lunacy it was, and I apologize to all the frogs.”

Producers of CBS’s new action-comedy Martial Law don’t expect the show’s star, martial arts legend Sammo Hung, to take a lot of sick leave. On-the set recently, Hung, playing a top cop from China who joins forces with the LAPD, sprained his ankle during a fight scene, leaving crew members worried that he was out of commission. As he got back on his feet, though, Hung—who has broken countless bones—explained that “a sprained ankle to me is like a paper cut to you.” With that he went back to work and finished the scene.