Director Rob Cohen, guilty of such celluloid atrocities as The Fast and the Furious and xXx, added a further misdemeanour to his list of cinematic mishaps during a recent interview, when he confessed that he thought Dragon Lee was Bruce Lee. The topic came up while discussing a proposed sequel to his movie Stealth, a potential Chinese co-production titled Stealth 2: The Chinese Connection. Cohen was explaining how Shanghai was the perfect location for the sequel, as the production cost barely covers the price of a Bruce Lee Blu-ray, so the level of smog in the city will allow the Stealth in question to disappear without the use of expensive CGI.
The title The Chinese Connection was of course also the US title for Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury, which turned the conversation towards his work on Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. When probed as to why the 1993 production involved dreams of samurai warriors and an actor who looked nothing like Bruce Lee, Cohen had this to say – “You know, as with most of my movies, I didn’t really have any clue what I was doing. I was approached and asked if I’d want to helm a Bruce Lee biopic, so of course I said yes, who doesn’t know Bruce Lee!?” While Cohen’s enthusiasm is admirable, he went on to explain – “So I decided to check out if any biopics had been done before, and of course came across 1977’s The Real Bruce Lee, which contained archival footage of Bruce himself. It also contained what I thought was one of his movies, so I simply assumed it was him, but now I know that the actor was in fact Dragon Lee. Ha!”
Cohen went on to detail that, so utterly deluded was he that Dragon Lee was Bruce Lee, all of the auditions he held for the role were based on how closely the actors resembled the Korean kung fu star. “Looking back in retrospect, you’ll notice how Jason Scott Lee looks much more like Dragon Lee than he does Bruce Lee, that’s because I was basing the auditions on the wrong Lee. Now I understand why the producers were so confused when I said I wanted to include a one-stick nunchuck scene.” Cohen whimsically recalled with a vacant smile. “I even spoke with Linda Lee, and she asked me if I knew any of her husband’s famous quotes. So I said of course I did, and bellowed at her ‘Are you tired of living!? Bastard!’ She never spoke to me again after that.” Amongst much laughter, Cohen quipped how “It should really be called Dragon Lee: The Bruce Lee Story.”
Asked if he thought returning to the Asian movie industry could result in any further mishaps, Cohen insisted that he’d now set himself straight when it came to Asian actors, stating that during the making of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, “Myself and Donnie Yen, who was playing the Emperor, had a great working relationship, and I thought he was great in his recent movie Skiptrace.”
– Happy April Fools’ Day from Cityonfire.com!