Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fact Or Fiction? - Rumors, gossip or fact?

These are some rumors that are frequently posted on the Internet.  Many fans still don't know what is true and what isn't.

  • Brandon wore his wedding tuxedo to his funeral, and Eliza wore her wedding dress?

Well it's half true. It has been reported from reliable sources that Brandon was buried in the tuxedo he had brought for his wedding. Eliza did not wear her wedding dress to his funeral. She wore it to the memorial service, which was held the day AFTER his private funeral.

  • Brandon was in talks to do Rapid Fire II?
Slightly factual. Brandon was working on a script with the writer of Rapid Fire Alan McElroy for a new film, that would be produced by FOX, but it was not a sequel (according to screenwriter Mc Elroy). Producer Robert Lawrence was working on the project with Brandon and was hoping to do something with the same character, but Brandon wanted to make a fresh start with a new character, which he had already named. Lawrence says this film was later changed into Die Hard III.
  • Brandon was going to open his father's death for investigation when he was killed.
No evidence to suggest this is true. Brandon believed in the official cause of Bruce Lee's death by Cerebral Oedema. Brandon thought any such theories that his father died of anything but natural causes to be ridiculous, and commented as much before his death. Any theories involving Chinese mafia are equally ridiculous and have no factual basis to them.
  • Brandon has a son
It is true that Brandon and Eliza were planning to start a family immediately after they were married, but they had yet to conceive when he died. Eliza did not give birth to Brandon's child like some people have claimed.
  • Brandon was obsessed with death?   
There is no evidence or commentary to suggest that Brandon was obsessed with death. Quite the contrary, close friends attest to Brandon’s great passion for life and living.

Most people make the assumption about Brandon's interest on discussing the mystery of death, that he was somehow obsessed with death. Some of these opinions are based on Brandon photographed at Jim Morrison's grave in the 1980's, or reports of Brandon doing rebellious or dangerous stunts, or even talking about death. If everyone who mentioned death was labeled as "obsessed" with the idea of death, you pretty much could call every human being obsessed then. Death is the great unknown, it is naturally for every individual at some point in their life to ask the quintessential philosophical question: What is the meaning of life? Brandon had a healthy fascination about the nature of life's cycle, which includes the mystery behind death. Brandon was neither a Goth or obsessed by the idea of dying. His interest in understanding the idea of death is no big surprise given his young when his father died. Brandon loved life, and embraced it very passionately, and was looking forward to having a long life. Anyone can claim something after someone died, and his fascination with spiritual aspects of life and death is no more unhealthy than any of us. Brandon often joked about death and was known for his very black sense of humor by those who knew him, but it was done in a very playful tone and was not meant to be taken literally.
  • Brandon was first thought for the role of NEO in The Matrix?
There is no evidence to suggest this one is true. The Matrix wasn't even in script form when Brandon died in 1993, and there has been no facts on record to support this widely circulated claim. Although many internet rumor hounds make the claim that the directors of The Matrix in interviews claim that NEO was inspired by Brandon, no one can actually produce evidence of such interviews as proof. If these interviews existed, then it would not be hard to document such claims now would it?
  •  Brandon's autopsy revealed that he had heart disease and that he would have died young anyway.
Fiction. The source of this rumor came from R.E.Payne, who had longed claimed on the Internet that for a price he could prove that Brandon was murdered. Not only does he offer no factual evidence, but his claims at having Brandon's autopsy report was never released (and one could argue that if Payne had a copy then why not publish it for people to see?), and his report contained so many errors, including medical evidence, that it is illogical to even entertain this ridiculous fabrication. Payne sells conspiracy propaganda, and his so called evidence is non existent. Like many conspiracy theorists, his theories make no sense, nor do they have to, to be believed by the very suggestive. His report contained many factual holes, that offer no new information, factual or otherwise. His claim that Brandon had heart disease also has no factual basis to it, nor is it remotely plausible. Brandon was very healthy at the time of his death, although he did smoke, it would not cause significant disease at age 28 to the degree Payne suggests. Payne's claim that he would of died young because of this non-existent genetic heart disease also can be discarded, especially when you take into account that Brandon's genetic history did not contain any significant heart disease. Brandon's father did not die of heart disease. It is a popular tactic among conspiracy theorists to make the claim that someone would die anyway, in an effort to develop multi-layered arguments that both fate and human beings were part of some grandeur plot by the cosmos or in Payne's case some Chinese assassin.
  • The members of Eric Draven's fictional band 'Hangman's Joke' is a real band.
It is both. The rumor persisted that Hangman's Joke were a real band, and for years no one knew if the members of the band were local extras or were a real band. Thanks to Cindy T of the starthrillerbrandonlee site, we have been able to tell what is truth from what is fiction. There was no real band called Hangman's Joke - that is fiction. But the members in the promotional shots with Brandon were actually members of a real band called Charlie's On Acid. They were cast as extras to pose in promotional pictures with Brandon, which they did. You can read an article from 1993 about the band here.

  • Brandon was signed on to do two sequels to The Crow
It is true that shortly before he was killed, Brandon had in fact signed to do two sequels to he Crow  if it proved to be successful. They were to be based around the character of Eric Draven.
  • Rapid Fire was going to be called something else?
Fact: This is true. Brandon (with agent David Goldman) and producer Robert Lawrence worked to secure a deal with Fox for a film, which would be written especially for him. Originally, writer Cindy Circle was writing a script called "The Red Pole," which had the storyline based around a martial artist using his skills to fight the Hong Kong Mafia in New York City. However, Brandon wanted a more realistic character who he could relate with, and after Alan McElroy came on board as one of the writers, the storyline dealing with both martial arts, and with the loss and spiritual growth seemed more appropriate to Brandon. It had the working title of "Moving Target," until after the film was made. It was then changed to Rapid Fire.
  • Brandon died in the big shootout scene in The Crow
Fiction: Brandon's accident did NOT occur in the big shootout scene in the boardroom. That particular scene was shot over 10 days prior to the fatal accident occurring. Several actors such as Michael Wincott, Bai Ling and Tony Todd had already left Wilmington because their scenes had already been filmed. Brandon's accident occurred filming the death scene of his character Eric Draven.
  • Eliza Hutton ordered scenes between Eric and Shelly be removed after Brandon's death.
Fiction. There is no evidence to suggest this is true. This rumor was generated after some claims in the much read but factually inconsistent book The Crow: The Story Behind the Film by Bridget Baiss, that scenes that were shot between Brandon (Eric) and Sofia Shinas (Shelly) were cut from the film by Eliza's request. However, the evidence available contradicts such claims, as Eliza Hutton made no formal or official requests to have any scene removed, besides the death scene. Given the fact that both she and Linda Lee Cadwell wanted the film done and completed, it makes claims from misinformed people rather redundant.  The people making the claim in the book is in fact unnamed in the book, which makes the rumor very suspicious. The scenes that had been filmed between the characters were VERY short, therefore the scenes could not have been put in a narrative context. There was only one sex scene in the script and no nudity (which was by Brandon's request as he felt it wasn't needed - instead wanted more emotional driven dialogue between the characters of Eric and Shelly). There is also some claims that seems to be supported by script notes that interaction between Eric and Shelly were always intended to be brief flashback like "sparks" that tormented and reminded Eric of his pain and his past. The actress who played Sofia Shinas (who had never acted before The Crow and therefore was inexperienced with the decision in film making) was only on set for the last two weeks of the shoot, so she had scenes still left to film with Brandon in the last week, and they were actually already behind schedule. Brandon died before the large majority of the scenes between his character and Shelly had actually been filmed. Small scenes between the characters had been shot in the last week of his life, but Brandon requested to have the bulk of them filmed at the end of production, so he could get the action over and done with.  The decision to edit was Alex Proyas's, and was done because there was not enough footage to go around of the couple. The decision was Proyas's and his alone. While some actors do get disappointed that some of their work does not make it on screen, it is frankly a fact of life in Hollywood. Sometimes an actor's best shots end up on the cutting room floor. Ultimately, I would take what you read in such "sensational" books with a grain of salt, since some people may not be speaking from fact, but rather from their own opinion which may be completely illogical and away from any kind of hindsight.
  • Brandon Lee played the guitar in the rooftop Inferno song?
 It is not Brandon in this scene, as is obviously from the scene being filmed from the back. The guitarist is rumored to have been Brandon's guitar teacher, J.K Loftin.
  • Did Brandon ever say 'The Key to immortality is living a life worth remembering' or 'Immortality is to live your life doing good things, and living your mark behind' 
It is rather odd that sayings Brandon is connected with he never said or knew about in his lifetime (according to evidence anyway). When Brandon died, the film based on his father's life Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story was due to be released, the film's director, Rob Cohen decided to include a dedication to Brandon at the end of the film and asked his mother, Linda if she had one in mind. After no suggestions were given, Cohen asked her what she thought of the St Augustine quote "The Key to Immortality is Living a Life Worth Remembering", and she thought it was perfect. Brandon never said it or does any evidence to suggest he had heard of the quote while alive. Linda Lee Cadwell used the quote and had it engraved on a bench that was placed at the graves of Bruce and Brandon Lee in 1995. There is also no evidence that Brandon had said or heard of the second quote, although many fans have placed it on their banners and pages - he never said it. It seems to be a variation of the St Augustine quote, but once again there is no evidence that Brandon ever said it.
  • Brandon Lee was good friends with actor Mark Dacascos, who played Eric Draven in ‘The Crow: Stairway to Heaven’ TV series.
Fiction. While both men had met in their lifetime, they were not friends. Dacascos confirmed in 1998 to Black Belt Magazine that the pair had known each other briefly as teenagers and their fathers had known each other, but he and Brandon were not in contact when he died, nor were they friends. Dacascos did also say that he was a great fan of Brandon’s work in The Crow.
  • Mark Dacascos filled in for Brandon Lee when he died
Fiction. Mark Dacascos was not involved in The Crow film at all. He did star in the TV series that was filmed in 1998-1999.
  • Brandon smoked.  
Brandon was known to be a chain smoker at the time he died.
  • Brandon was killed by a live bullet.
Brandon was not shot by a live .44 bullet, it only ultimately had the simulated force of one.

  • Brandon defended himself against an intruder in his own home.
 In 1990, Brandon was living in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles and returned home one night to find a intruder still in the house. Brandon indicated in press interviews afterwards that the men first chased each other around the room of the house, then the intruder grabbed a knife and attempted to stab Brandon with it, only cutting him on the left thumb.

Brandon used the knife-drill training he received at the Inosanto Academy to successful disarm the intruder, before breaking several bones in the intruder’s bones. The police were called and the intruder was charged with break and enter and attempted robbery, for which he served a small amount of prison time.

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