Sunday, January 17, 2021

10 roles Brandon Lee could have played perfectly.

 10 roles Brandon Lee could have played perfectly.

Earlier this month I fell down the Brandon Lee rabbit hole after stumbling upon one of his last interviews shortly before he was tragically killed back in 1993 while filming his final movie The Crow. I feel nearly everyone in the world is familiar with both Brandon and his father Bruce as well as the tragic fact both died young and quite mysteriously. My late mother I remember constantly brought up Brandon's death, as well as Vic Morrow's, and Jon-Erik. All three killed in freak accidents on set, and what's the saddest thing about all three men dying...was the fact all 3 deaths could have been avoided. Anyone my age has grown up watching The Crow, as well as the legend that surrounded the production  that it was "cursed". In fact just last year the horror streaming service Shudder even released several episodes of movies based off cursed films and deaths that took place during production. The Crow was one of the films covered. I for one truly don't believe that this movie was cursed. I think what really happened was shortcuts were taken, and a series of events sadly took place resulting in Brandon getting accidentally killed, and ruining and haunting the poor actor who pulled the trigger, having to live with the guilt of this accident up until the day he died several years back. 

Basically without doing into massive detail, Brandon was accidentally killed in March 31 1993 while wrapping up his latest film The Crow. This was the movie that launched Lee away from his father's shadow, and placed him as a tragic icon of sorts playing a man who returns from the grave for two days in order to avenge his fiancé' and his murder that took place on Devil's Night in Detroit the year before. Led by the spirit of a crow, he learns quickly that he has the ability to heal himself almost instantly, as he stalks and kills all of the gang responsible for his murder. The Crow was based off a popular underground comic, and was beautify filmed with gothic images, a classic soundtrack, a stellar cast, and sadly proof that Brandon wasn't just a martial arts star like his late father, but could actually play lead dramatic roles, and had he lived could have been an A list star.

Sadly one stupid accident we lost one HELL of an actor who honestly seemed like a really nice guy.

The said interview I watched he was on set of The Crow. Weeks away from actually getting married himself (which makes his death even more heartbreaking) He slips up and swears in the interview, and starts cracking up over his agent standing behind the camera giving him a death glare. He throws back his head, and gives a truly wonderful laugh, and for some strange reason that struck a chord with me. This guy was only 28 years old, set to marry the love of his life, and was on the verge of stardom and finally breaking away from the fact that he was Bruce Lee's son. I noticed in several other interviews everyone would ask the same thing. "What was it like to be the son of Bruce Lee?" "What are your thoughts on how your father really died?" "Can you fight just as good as your father?" As always Brandon would stay humble and polite, even though he was on these talk shows to promote one of the 3 movies he had starred in before being killed. Instead of asking him questions about himself or the project he was working on, it was always about his father. Brandon would always answer nicely, clearly still mourning his father, and wanting to establish that he had gotten into film on his own terms, that he wasn't trying to coast off his family's name alone. One interview that was recorded is the only time I think Brandon finally let loose, tried of all of the inappropriate questions and remarks about his father. The reporter asked him how would be respond to people who claim the only reason he's an action star now is because he's the son of Bruce Lee. Here Brandon just casually says "Fuccckkk youuuu." before cracking up. Gotta hand it to him, I think that's a fair answer.

Any who, after looking up a few interviews with Brandon, as well as reading a pretty heartbreaking article from an ex-girlfriend of his, recalling their relationship, and what a down to Earth, all around nice guy he was, yet he always said he had a feeling he would die young like his father (weird) after seeing an interview where he's asked who his heroes are. Instead of saying what everyone expected (his father, or classic actors like Pacino, DeNiro.) He said "You know who I like who's just starting to get big...Tom Hanks." Oh Brandon, you had no idea...

Bummed out after having a mini marathon of his movies (The Crow, Laser Mission, Showdown In Little Tokyo, and Rapid Fire) I saw really what a tragedy it was that Lee died. I really think The Crow was just a small glimpse of what he had planned for his career, and really could have rocked some parts and continue being one hell of an actor, even if he was alive today.

So here are 10 roles I feel he could have played perfectly...

10) Johnny Cage -Mortal Kombat
- *Cue Mortal Combat song" This was the role I always had heard and read about that Brandon was originally supposed to play. Now I've heard different things, such as director Paul W.S. Anderson claiming that Brandon was never supposed to be set to play the character of Johnny Cage based off the popular arcade video game. On the other hand I heard from different sources such as the writers of the game saying Johnny Cage was based off Brandon. I then heard Cage was based off of Jean-Claude Van Damme. Who knows?! Still, I think action movies like this would have totally been Brandon's thing. Here he could display his training and skills as a fighter, as well as hamming it up and showing the charm he held. Many fans as well as myself all agree that if you wanna see Brandon play Johnny Cage, just watch Showdown In Little Tokyo. 

9) Neo - The Matrix
- I guess Lana and Lilly Wachowski originally wrote the role of Neo with Brandon in mind. Somebody actually did a Youtube video called a "Deep Fake" where they used CGI to put Brandon's face over Keanu's. It actually blows my mind people can do this. Really amazing. Nothing against Keanu, I love the man, but seeing Brandon playing these awesome roles is just another reminder that a terrible accident cost us a man who I feel could have gone on to such bigger and better things. 

8) Jack - Speed
- Whenever I think of what roles Brandon could have played, Speed is always one of my first picks. I really think throughout the 1990's Brandon would have starred in some really awesome action movies. The role of Jack would have been perfect for him. Plus him and Sandra Bullock! Amazing!

7) Johnny Utah - Point Break
- Guys I know what you're thinking. "ANOTHER Keanu movie?" Yep. Maybe it's because they kinda looked alike, but I feel had Brandon lived he really would have been nabbing parts originally played by Mr. Reeves. Point Break would have been the best movie for him. I know a ton of people hate how cheesy it is, but I live for it. I could totally see him playing against Patrick Swayze, displaying yet again his talents for being a great action star. I mean I could see him right now standing on the beach, throwing his badge down as Swayze surfs into the greta beyond. 

6) Malloy - Interview With The Vampire
- We all know that River Phoenix was originally supposed to play Christian Slater's role in Neil Jordan's Interview With The Vampire, and even though I think Brandon could have played either Louis and Lestat, I really think he would have brought the charm in playing Malloy the interviewer. Plus him getting attacked by Lestat at the end as Guns N Roses is blasting. Totally iconic! 

5) Stewart - Wolf 
- Another actor I think Brandon would have been going up against for roles in the 1990's had he turned more towards "serious" roles would have been Mr. Spader. Wolf has a ton of flaws, but I think we can all agree seeing Brandon playing the best role in the movie up against that kind of cast would have been amazing. Plus him with those contacts! Beyond awesome!!!

4) Jake Lo - Die Hard 3 aka Rapid Fire II
- Originally Brandon signed up to make two more films in the Rapid Fire series, and rumor had it a script was floating around for the next film to be about Jake teaming up with a pawn shop owner to help the police as a madman plants bombs all over the city, while the two men have to solve riddles in order to stop people from being killed. As much as I love Die Hard 3, it really bums me out wondering how cool it would have been seeing Brandon return to such a film series, and act in such a solid script. 

3) Butch - Pulp Fiction 
- I think this is mostly because I would have killed to have seen Brandon appear in a Tarantino movie. Even though he didn't quite fit the look of a heavyweight boxer, I still think it would have been awesome seeing him star in this cult classic. I just keep thinking about the scene where Butch almost escapes the pawn shop, before thinking it over, and decides to stay and help Marsellus. I always thought it would have been so awesome if a movie was even made based off Brandon's brief life. (I mean there's already been one made about Bruce, and let's not forget that creepy foreshadowing scene in the rain where the demon turns from Bruce to Brandon. Yilkes) Maybe it's just the fangirl in me, but it would have been so nice to see a movie almost like Once Upon A Time In Hollywood./Inglorious Bastards where a horrible event is changed. I think we all would have loved to see a scene play out showing The Crow being filmed, and somebody checking the gun meant to be shot at Brandon, and him walking away totally fine. "Sigh" if only...still after the clash between Tarantino and Brandon's sister over how he wrote her father in Once Upon A Time...I sadly don't think it's ever going to happen.

2) Milles - Se7en 
- I always think of Brad Pitt's interview he gave in 2019 promoting Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, where he told a reporter in the early 90's he met Brandon at a party. They ended up going back to his place to hang out and drink. Pitt noticed that Brandon drove a hearse, and was fascinated with death. While the two were drinking and smoking around 6 that morning, still going strong, Brandon remarked that he had a feeling he would never see the age of 30. That he would die young like his father (spooky) Still, I feel had Brandon lived he would have been grabbing roles like Brad, and Keanu Reeves. Se7en I think would have been a really great role for Brandon to snag. He would have played it serious, but playing right beside Morgan Freeway would have been legendary. Plus, I feel he would have perhaps played the whole ending scene maybe a little more serious than Mr. Pitt did. #Justsaying

1) Vivian - In Dreams

- I absolutely adore Neil Jordan's films (clearly this is the second movie of his I think Brandon could have ruled at.) In fact, if Jordan's werewolf film In The Company Of Wolves been remade in the late 90's, Brandon for sure could have ruled at a lead in that. Still, In Dreams is highly underrated and I feel Lee could have played the disturbed Vivian (originally played by Robert Downey Jr.) He definitely could have really stole the show, as well as having great chemistry with Annette Bening.

In closing, I've lately really enjoyed watching Brandon's work, and respecting the man he was. Maybe it's because we both lost a parent young, but he's for sure a person I now look up to and will even say miss. I feel this tragic accident really cost us a great guy, as well as a great actor.

This February would have been his 56th birthday. The same age my mother was when she passed. Brandon, if you're up there. Tell my mom I said hi, and thank you for the few movies you made. You're legacy will live on, and I feel fans much like myself will continue to wonder "What if?" and what amazing projects you could have given us.

Rest easy Mr. Brandon and thank you.