But that’s not all, during our 55-minute interview with the French filmmaker, we also learned that for the role of Crying Freeman (his first film released in 1995), it was not Mark Dacascos who was the first choice of Christophe Gans, but Brandon Lee, the son of the martial arts legend. Gans even explains to us that he met Brandon Lee in Los Angeles to pitch the film to him and get him involved in his project. Unfortunately, the death of Bruce Lee’s son in 1993 on the set of The Crow put an end to this collaboration.
As for The Crow, a little anecdote. Originally, it was Brandon Lee who was to play Crying Freeman and I had met him in Los Angeles with Samuel Hadida (the film’s producer, editor’s note). We had breakfast together, in a bar in EAST LA, in the hottest part of town at the time. It was Brandon Lee who gave us the meeting place to meet, and he arrived like a real biker. He had a motorcycle, he was dressed entirely in leather and the two things I remember about him is first of all the very dark character of the character.
Not that he was unsympathetic, but we felt that he was someone extremely dark, dark as we would say today. And on the other hand, I was fascinated because he was the son of my greatest school, Bruce Lee. And so I was looking at him and saying to myself, it’s Bruce Lee’s son who is in front of me. I remember having been in a form of both admiration and almost vague discomfort, to be in front of the son of the greatest martial artist and the idol of my childhood.
He had considered the project and things were going well, and then I went to see The Crow and was amazed at how beautiful the film was, but I knew at that point that Brandon was no longer with us. I was shooting a little sketch in a horror movie called Necronomicon, and I remember perfectly like it was yesterday. So we were in 1993, I was shooting in a shed in the San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles and it was the middle of the afternoon. And I got word of Brandon’s death. I remember the state of amazement that I was in, insofar as I could only make the connection between the fate of his father and his, and the fact that I had met this person a few months before.
The second choice was worn by Jason Scott Lee, also quite popular after his role as Bruce Lee in the biopic Dragon, directed by Rob Cohen in 1993. But disputes between Metropolitan and Universal did not allow Jason Scott Lee to be released, who was under contract. It was then that a chance meeting between Christophe Gans and Mark Dacascos in the offices of Metropolitan in Los Angeles will allow the actor to win the title role. The French filmmaker explains to us that it was in the waiting room of the offices in which he was working at that time that he realized that the physique of Mark Dacascos fully corresponded to that of the hero of Crying Freeman.