The Curse of the Chinese Merchant
Brushes With Fame #3: Brandon Lee
In the biographical film Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story Bruce Lee's father inadvertently angers a Chinese merchant who puts a curse on him to the effect that his son, and his son's sons will die untimely deaths. In the film, Lee dreams of a fearsome supernatural warrior who comes to hunt him down, and then in turn comes for his son. There are touching scenes between Lee and his little boy Brandon in which the fearful father warns the son about the dream warrior who will try to and take his life prematurely. And how he must always be on his guard.
Bruce Lee died in unusual circumstances just after completing his film Enter the Dragon at the age of 32.
In 1993 I travelled to the US to pick up my theremin and to visit my friend Alex in North Carolina where he was directing the feature film of Jame's O'Barr's illustrated novel The Crow. Brandon Lee had been cast as Eric Draven a rock singer who, along with his young fiancee Shelley, is murdered on the night before Halloween. One year later he returns from the dead, and as the eponymous Crow visits revenge upon the killers.
I met Brandon and his fiancee Eliza very briefly one evening when I was on the set. He was charming and unaffected and very charismatic. He and Eliza, who were due to be married after the film was completed, seemed happy and comfortable in one another's company. I remember thinking that young, good looking people like Brandon almost seem supernaturally invincible, which was fitting, given the part he was playing in the film.
Tragically, a week later, Brandon Lee was dead, the unfortunate victim of a simple stunt gunshot which through a combination of unattributable negligence and bad luck went horribly wrong. He was 27 years old.
It is, in my mind, in keeping with the flow of coincidence that every year at this time Brandon returns in the guise of The Crow in theatres and on tv screens across the planet. Not to exact vengeance, for that is the act of a small soul, but instead to rekindle the Spark of Dark Romance that is forever Halloween. Oh that any of us should serve so grand a purpose.