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Behind the scenes of ‘Enter the Dragon’

Check it out, Matthew Polly is in Playboy’s July issue! Not only does he have a tasteful nude pictorial in there, but a great article on Bruce Lee as well! You can also read it on Playboy’s website, and as far as I can tell, the following link is technically safe for work – no titties or vag. If someone at work asks why you were on Playboy.com, you can honestly tell them you were there for the articles.

Lee’s younger brother Robert claimed that in high school Bruce was “recognized as the king gorilla—boss of the whole school.” After years of groveling and rejection in Hollywood, Lee wasted little time establishing his dominance over the production of Enter the Dragon. On Saxon’s first day in Hong Kong, in January 1973, Lee brought him to his house and asked to see his side kick. “Then he said, ‘Let me show you mine,’” Saxon remembers. “He gave me a padded shield to hold. Bruce did a hop, skip and a jump and blasted into the shield. I went flying back on my heels and landed in a chair, which shattered. I was in shock for a few moments, and then Bruce ran over with a concerned look on his face. I said, ‘Don’t worry, I’m not hurt.’ He said, ‘I’m not worried about you. You broke my favorite chair.’”

“Did you believe you were going to be the star of the film?” I ask Saxon.

“Certainly not after that first morning.”

Yet Lee refused to show up on set for the first day of shooting, then the second, then the third. His wife, Linda, yin to his yang, ran interference, telling the producers he was working on the fight choreography. Initially, the Americans thought it was a power play, but word filtered back that the gorilla king was terrified. Bob Wall says, “Bruce was so fucking uptight. He couldn’t shoot. He wouldn’t even go on set.” Weintraub sent Bob Clouse out to shoot random footage of Hong Kong. Lee’s anxiety attack lasted two weeks and nearly scuttled the entire movie. When he finally came on set, all Clouse could film was a simple exchange of dialogue between Lee and actress Betty Chung, playing undercover operative Mei Ling, because Lee was suffering from a nervous facial tic. Twenty-seven takes later and Enter the Dragon had begun.

The article glosses over Lee’s early years and emerging stardom and then really gets meaty with all the Enter the Dragon stuff. It’s a great read and a nice appetizer to the Bruce Lee book Matt Polly is putting out sometime in the far too distant future. Until then, you can still buy American Shaolin or Tapped Out.

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