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Brandon Lee was killed while shooting the flashback scene in which he walks into the room and discovers Shelly is being attacked. Funboy (Michael Massee) was to shoot Eric as he walked into the room. The gun he was supposed to be using was loaded with "blanks". Eric walked in and was shot as scripted. However, a bullet penetrated Brandon's abdomen and lodged next to his vertebrae (had he lived there was a good chance he may have been paralysed). Brandon was rushed to hospital where he died 13 hours later after attempts to stop the bleeding with surgery failed.
An investigation later into his death discovered that the gun had earlier been loaded with "dummy" bullets for a close up shot (a dummy is a shell and slug, but no gunpowder). In this particular case real bullets were used, bought from a local gun shop. The slugs were removed from the casing and the gun powder was removed, and then the slugs were placed back in the casing. This was a huge mistake as real ammo should never be used to make a dummy bullet, but due to budget and time constraints the production crew did what they thought best.
The dummy bullet was meant to be used for head-on, close-up shots so that the slugs could be seen in the chamber. According to the investigation, during the scene where the gun was loaded with dummy rounds one of the slugs came loose and stayed in the chamber after it was unloaded. The gun was then reloaded with blanks, ready for the flashback scene. Blank bullets, however, have double the amount of gunpowder in them than a normal bullet so that a loud sound is made and a discharge is seen. When the gun was fired the slug that remained in the chamber was pushed through with double the force and hit Brandon.
It was later discovered that there had been a huge lapse in safety other than live ammo being used to create the dummy. Earlier that evening the weapons expert had been sent home to save money, and a couple of prop assistants were left in charge. This oversight led to Brandon's death, and his mother consequently sued the company for negligence, and won an undisclosed settlement.
For the record, the actor Michael Massee was deemed not responsible for Brandon Lee's death and no criminal charges were ever brought against him.
The irony was that this was to be the last scene in which guns would be involved, and the final eight days of shooting were to be fill-in scenes and flashbacks. It is also sad that in just twelve days time Brandon was due to be married.
Other reports on the death of Brandon Lee exist, including one that says that the bullet in the gun was simply a live one, instead of a blank... whatever happened, his death will probably always be shrouded in mystery.
All the above information was taken from official reports on the accident and from interviews with gun experts and Brandon Lee's
Back To Tribute-Tribute Paid to the Late Brandon Lee.
Last Interview-Brandon's Last Interview
The accident happened at 12:30 am on March 31st 1993.
The shot had perforated Lee's stomach, tearing several vital organs and causing an internal haemorrhage.
Brandon Lee died in hospital at 1.03 pm on 31st March 1993 (12 1/2 hours after the accident).
Cause of death is listed as G.S.W. (gunshot wound) of the abdomen.
Brandon is buried with his father, Bruce Lee, at Lakeview Cemetary, Seattle, Washington, near the Seattle Asian Museum.
On the very first day of filming (Feb. 1st), a young carpenter suffered serious burns on his face, hands and chest. He had been sitting on a metal girder that collided with high tension power lines.
A sculptor lost his pedals and was slammed into the steering wheel of his car. (Other reports say that a 'disgruntled sculptor' drove his car through the studio's plaster shop - well, something happened, anyway).
A manual worker got a screwdriver embedded in his hand.
A lorry full of equipment mysteriously set on fire.
The production's press attache was a victim of a traffic accident.
A stuntman fell through a roof, breaking several ribs.
A hurricane destroyed several of the film's sets. (March 13th)
Thanks to Entertaiment Weekly for this report.
(Published April 2nd, 1993 issue-forty-eight hours after Brandon Lee's death)
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