Death of Brandon Lee

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    1. #1
      Junior Member Bishop746's Avatar
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      Death of Brandon Lee

      My friends and I were discussing movies when The Crow came up and I decided to look into how Brandon Lee was killed on set. I knew he had been shot but I didn't know all the details.

      From Wikipedia:

      Because the movie's second unit team was running behind schedule, it was decided that dummy cartridges (cartridges that outwardly appear to be functional, but contain no gunpowder) would be made from real cartridges. A cartridge with only a primer and a bullet was fired in the pistol prior to the scene. It caused a squib load, in which the primer provided enough force to push the bullet out of the cartridge and into the barrel of the revolver, where it became stuck.

      The malfunction went unnoticed by the crew, and the same gun was used again later to shoot the death scene, having been re-loaded with blanks. However, the squib load was still lodged in the barrel, and was propelled by the blank cartridge's explosion out of the barrel and into Lee's body. Although the bullet was traveling much more slowly than a normally fired bullet would be, the bullet's large size and the extremely short firing distance made it powerful enough to fatally wound Lee.

      For the life of me I cannot understand what they were doing. I read another source that claimed the armourer had gone home for the day and a special effects technician was in charge of the weapons. Why someone would have a primered case with a lead bullet and fire it on set is hard to believe. Its a shame that a young man had to loose his life to such gross stupidity.

    2. #2
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      I agree completely. It just makes you wonder why there are not more firearm related accident in the film industry.

    3. #3
      Senior Member zhurdan's Avatar
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      There aren't many firearms related deaths anymore in large part to the accident involving Mr. Lee. Now, barrels are crosspinned or welded to a smaller diameter for the express purpose of being used up close with blanks. Guns that do not require up close and personal contact may or may not be modified, but they are under a strict "lock out, tag out" proceedure involving many checks and basically a responsible party/parties that verify safety before firing, and then the relocking of said weapon immediately after the scene.

      For extremely up close work, they use pneumatic pistols that only run the slide, nothing down the barrel, and effects are added in post production.

      Zhur

    4. #4
      GM HGF Gold Member
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      I was watching a special on Warner Brothers studio last week. They made reference to Jimmy Cagney wising up and asking (demanding?) they quit shooting live rounds at him during gunfight scenes.

      WM
      Never argue with drunks or crazy people.

    5. #5
      Member funkypunk97's Avatar
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      Yeah it was sad....... I know a guy who is a special effects tech who graduated from NYU and moved out to LA. He has worked on a lot of movies and he said that the old guys talk a lot about the old days and how unsafe it really was for actors.

      Brandon Lee's death changed a lot of rules with prop guns.... the rules used to be very lax and sadly it took the death of a great young action star to get things changed...

    6. #6
      Junior Member Bishop746's Avatar
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      Good to know they've tightened the rules on stage weapons. I've heard some pretty bizarre stories from some of those old movies

      Lee's mother sued the production company and settled for a sizeable amount and I agree with that. However, she named Michael Massee(the actor who actually shot Lee) in the suit and that I dont agree with . Its probably an understatment to say that actors are unfamilar with firearms and they are just handed a weapon by a propman and told which end the noise comes out.

    7. #7
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      I recall when this happened. If I remember correctly they still used the scene (edited of course) in the final release of the film.

      Same with Ben-Hur and the Twilight Zone Movie, these scenes are always creepy to watch.

    8. #8
      Junior Member Bishop746's Avatar
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      I know of the death of Vic Marrow in The Twilight Zone but what happened in Ben Hur?

    9. #9
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      I think one of the stuntmen got run over in the chariot race scene towards the end of the movie...think the clip was used in the final cut.

    10. #10
      Senior Member HGF Gold Member unpecador's Avatar
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    11. #11
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      Well, that makes Viewing Ben-Hur a lot less troublesome. Thanks for that!

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