1/ Mr. Logan, Hong Kong Legends isn't the same without you & your excellent audio commentary tracks. Speaking of such things, do I understand correctly that you're now working for Miramax? Don't they have the rights to Drunken Master 2 (aka Legend of Drunken Master)? Any chance they might release a special edition of that classic that could include one of your much appreciated commentary tracks among other things (like the original music & cantonese language soundtrack)? If it were released on dvd around the time Rush Hour 3 hits theatres next summer, I think it could do really good business, hope this isn't just wishful thinking on my part.
Speaking of classic Hong Kong movies, what, if anything, do you think would have to happen to return the Hong Kong film industry to the level of success, both artistic & businesswise, of the 80s & early 90s? I've heard people blame the current slump on piracy, but isn't a lack of talent comparable to a younger Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, & Yuen Biao (not too mention Bruce Lee) at least as much a cause of the problems? The current crop of young talent in Hong Kong doesn't hold a candle to previous generations, at least in terms of physical abilities, in my humble opinion, anyway. Do I now have to look to Thailand & Tony Jaa (& company) for genuine Hong Kong movie flavor?
Could you give us an industry insiders view on the percieved profitability (or lack thereof) of further releases of Bruce Lee movies? Do you think, for instance, that Warner Bros doesn't consider it worth their investment to release a better version of Enter The Dragon? It seems to me all they'd have to do to vastly improve on that last 2 disc (not so) special edition would be to get you & maybe some of Bruce's costars to do an actually informative commentary track, & show us all of Ahna Capri's footage (if, as I suspect, Bob Wall wouldn't sign a release for footage featuring him, couldn't they just blur his face out? We could all pretend we didn't know that was him getting shown up by Bruce.). It seems to me they've also got more than enough still photos from ETD to make for a great Making Of book, offering not only more & better quality visually but broader perspectives than we got from Robert Clouse's book (so many other nicer quality Making Of books for movies ranging from The Matrix to less attention worthy films like Resident Evil show up in Tower, why not Enter?). By the way, can we expect any more books from you? Your book on Hong Kong movies was great, loved it. Thanks for your time & replies, & keep up the excellent work.
Bey Logan: Thanks so much for the kind words about my commentaries. I knew they'd be missed, but I was slightly surprised no attempt was made to replace them. I guess HKL thought people wouldn't notice that every release was now commentaryless... I am now working for The Weinstein Company. Its earlier incarnation, Miramax, was owned by Disney and did have the rights to Drunken Master 2. A little over a year ago, 'our' Miramax split from Disney, and we became The Weinstein Company. Unfortunately, the DM2 rights remain with Disney/Miramax. I would have loved to do a commentary for that film. Maybe one day! I think we'd all like to turn back the clock and have the 80s back. I certainly would, because I was young then! I think we have to look forward, and see how we can build on this rich legacy, using the international resources we have at our disposal, to craft a new generation of Asian action cinema. I'm certainly doing my best to play my part! I agree that we don't have action heroes with the same physicality as previous years, but that doesn't necessarily mean we can't make great action films. Tony Jaa is awesome, but don't write off Chinese action cinema just yet. I think the Bruce Lee titles are perennials. There is always a new generation of fans wanting to see the movies for the first time, and it seems we can always come up with new footage or other special features that lead the old fans to buy the films yet again! (I know I always do...) Regarding Enter The Dragon, in corporate terms, the latest boxed set was relatively recent. I imagine that there will be a future re-release tied in to a specific Bruce Lee anniversary. I was very grateful to Paul Heller's commentary, because it was so bad it inspired me to do them myself! I don't know that you would need releases from all the actors, including Bob Wall, to show the behind-the-scenes footage. Maybe if he threatened litigation the company would be concerned enough not to use it. Corporations tend to do the things they think will most readily make them money. If they thought the kind of Enter The Dragon boxed set you're describing or a Making Of book would appeal to a broad audience, they'd do it tomorrow. I think the Bruce Lee fan base is deep rather than wide, and this is why there isn't more Bruce Lee material released in the mainsteam. I would love to write further books. My esteemed publishers, Titan Books, decreed that there would not be a large enough audience, worldwide, to warrant a revised ten year anniversary edition of Hong Kong Action Cinema. Maybe we can do it for the 20 year one! I will be writing other books. Stay tuned!
2/ Hi, the School of Chivalry trailer was never seen on the HK legends platinum Fist of Fury disc. I've heard that this was pulled at the last minute. Is this true? Will any new footage be seen in the near future from official sources. As for the hktv stuff,is it out there !!!!! Lastly, the floor above Kareem i've heard it was Linda awaiting Bruce along with photos of him leaving Ting Pei's apartment at 3.00 am !!!! The ultimate challenge. Temple of the estranged !!! Seriously guys keep up the good work. We are all REAL fans and want to be kept on the loop. many thanks.
Bey Logan : Believe me, whatever was available was on that disc! I read with great interest the list of David Tadman's 'finds'. I can only think the main reason this kind of material doesn't get more widely released is that either the owner doesn't want to sell, or will only sell at a price too high for the market. All of this stuff is really glorified DVD bonus material, and film companies don't tend to spend THAT much on these kinds of features. I thought the highest level of the tower in Game Of Death was Raymond with a new contract and a .45, so he could, bang, settle it...
3/ Can either of you confirm or deny the existence of this rumored behind the scenes footage and/or out-takes from Way of The Dragon? Have you or anyone you know (& would believe) actually seen any of it? If it does exist do you know of any plans to make it (or any other previously unseen rare Bruce footage) available to the public? I'd be thrilled just to get my hands on cleaned up & complete/uncut versions of stuff we've already seen some of, specifically Ahna Capri's home movies from ETD, & Robert Lee's behind the scenes of GOD footage (by the way, would he legally have the right to release that stuff even if he wanted to?). I'd also love to see better quality footage of Bruce & Dan Inosanto putting on their full-contact sparring demonstration (there seems to so little footage available of Bruce actually "fighting").
Bey Logan : The rumours have been so persistent, I guess it must be out there. However, the same could be said of the Loch Ness Monster... If David Tadman says its there, it probably is. From a film industry point of view, anyone having possession of the footage could only release it, legally, in conjunction with Fortune Star, who own Way Of The Dragon itself. They would also have to make their best endeavours to get a release from whoever filmed the original footage, if it wasn't a member of the WOD film crew. My read on it is that the Estate wouldn't have any specific rights to the footage so long as it was shot on the set of the film. I haven't seen Robert's GOD rehearsal footage. I understand that it doesn't feature Bruce on camera. I see no reason why it shouldn't be release commercially. Maybe the asking price is just too high for the marketplace!
4/ Who among the current crop of martial arts movie stars do you guys like? Any particular martial arts movies we should be on the lookout for? Steve, I know you're a Bruce Lee fan, have you followed the film careers of any other martial artists. Personally I think Tony Jaa is the most impressive guy to come along since the Three Brothers at their peak in the 80s & early 90s (I thought Mark Dacascos had a lot of potential, too, but, like many others, he doesn't seem to've had much opportunity to live up to that potential... but, hey, Iron Chef America's nothing to sneeze at!).
Do you think Jackie Chan (I know this is site dedicated to Bruce Lee, Jackie was at least one of Bruce's stunt guys)should stop making action &/or martial arts movies? For me watching his movies lately feels like watching Ali, or Sugar Ray Leonard, or Evander Holyfield fighting past their prime; I'll always respect these guys as the great (Greatest?) fighters they were, but I wish they'd known when to call it quits.
Speaking of Bruce & Jackie, the book The Tao of the Dragon Warrior by Louis Chunovic features many, many sequential photos of diferent takes from the movies Enter the Dragon & Game of Death (including the take where Bruce accidently wacked Jackie with a stick, I believe... bottom of inside cover, is that a broken staff sailing through the air to the left of Bruce as Jackie crumples in the foreground?); would these photos from alternate takes indicate that those takes actually exist, or are these just still photos shot in sequence?. Bey, do stills photographers on movie sets usually take photos like that, that many? Thanks again, guys.
Bey Logan : Well, I'm biased because he's a good friend of mine, but I think Donnie Yen is leading the new wave as both an action performer and director. I was just with Tony Jaa in Thailand, and he's prepping to direct Ong Bak 2, which I think is going to be awesome. I agree that Mark Dacascos had potential. Unfortunately, there's a big gap between having the requisite physical skills and having that combination of luck, acting talent and screen presence that will make a movie star. I don't think Jackie can be written off just yet. Rob-B-Hood looks like fun, and I met Brett Ratner here, and he's bringing his usual energy level to Rush Hour 3. I'd love to see Jackie make another period action film. There would have been hours of rushes from Enter The Dragon, just as there are for any film, but it seems that almost all that footage has been destroyed. It varies, but, on my most studio films, the stills guy shoots hundreds of images.
5/ Bey, just wondered why the Jackie Chan & Tsui Hark episodes of The (Son of the) Incredibly Strange Film Show from the late 80s (hosted by Jonathon Ross, if I remember correctly) never showed up on any of the HKL's dvds; would they be of little interest to British fans, or are the rights that difficult/costly to attain? I think they'd make excellent extras on any Jackie dvd, particularly the Jackie Chan episode which I think was better than any other Jackie doc. that followed (aside, maybe, from Jackie Chan: My Stunts).
Also, why didn't (don't know if you'll actually know, of course) HKL include the 95 minutes or so of Bruce's out-takes from Game of Death on their GOD special edition (s)? Surely they didn't think fans wouldn't have been interested. A matter of getting the rights from various sources?
Bey Logan : That's a good question! Brian White was the UK-based guy in the HKL glory days, and, if he could have accessed this material, I'm sure he would. I'm guessing that the costs were prohibitive. Also, we had a 'house style' that we would generate our own unique bonus features. The thing about the 95 minutes of Game Of Death rushes is that its really something only the die-hard fans would sit through, and the discs are actually created for the widest possible audience. It makes more sense to use that disc space to include features that would appeal to the widest possible market. My understanding is that many of the fans have accessed this footage through other means anyway!
6/ What are your top 5 favourite martial arts movies?
Bey Logan : Let me think: Prodigal Son, Enter The Dragon, Drunken Master, Iron Monkey, Pedicab Driver (and many more, but these are definitely up there!)
7/ What do you know about Bruce's unseen script 'Southern Fist/Northern Legs'? Bruce talking in Cantonese about the film was featured in BL Man, the Legend doc. Do you know the whereabouts of Bruce's script audio tapes? These would be great to transcribe about his future story ideas and roles don't you think? I think 'Bamboo Hero' was found with Bruce talking in audio re Paul Li. Is there anymore of these audios?
Bey Logan : Mmmm. Laam kuen, baak tui... Thereby hangs a tale. I first heard about this film when John Little offered it me when I was working at Media Asia. It was sent to me/us as a finished, formatted script, in English, with the title Southern Fist, Northern Leg. Not having access to Lee's original notes or recordings, I had no way of knowing how much of the writing was by Bruce and how much by John! My suspicions are that a significant amount was done by the latter. Anyway, we (Media Asia) were genuinely interested in making the film, but were slightly taken aback when John announced that he himself wanted to direct this multi-million dollar, Chinese language epic.
Separately, I approached Paul Li, and told him about the project, hoping he could help me ascertain how much of 'our' script was Lee's original work. He told me that he had, as a child, been offered the audiotapes of Bruce's script sessions, but could not afford them. He had been allowed to listen to some of the tapes at the owner's apartment, and then ran down to transcribe as much as he could remember. He told me the basic stories of Southern Fist, Northern Leg (which matched the storyline of the script) and Bamboo Hero. Subsequently, John parted ways with the Lee Estate, and I heard that the Estate were not happy about the script circulating. We decided to drop the project from development. When I left Media Asia, I couldn't find my copy of the script anywhere, which I'm still mad about to this day!
8/ Hi Bey. Greetings from your old home town in Cambridgeshire - a scorching 35 degrees this week!
Could you please tell us a bit more about the new DVD label you've set up in the States, and will you be releasing any of the Bruce Lee titles? If so, is there a release schedule, and how will these versions differ from the ones already on the market?
In the six years since you researched and recorded your audio commentary for the first HKL Big Boss DVD, have you any new information on the infamous missing scenes and do you think the fans will ever get to see the original, longer version of the film? Thanks, Jason H
Bey Logan : Peterborough, how I miss it some times... The new label is Dragon Dynasty, we launch in September with SPL, which will be released in the US as Kill Zone. We will be releasing some classic Golden Harvest titles from the Fortune Star library, but not, as yet, the Bruce Lee films. I'd love to one day have a crack at doing the definitive US DVD of these, though!
I always felt that if anyone actually had access to the longer version, and especially the infamous saw scene, it would have leaked out by now. Maybe I'm too cynical! I certainly have no inside track on where the longer version is, but maybe Steve and David do!
9/ You've said that Bruce was thinking of re-shooting Way of the Dragon in the US for the international market. Can you please provide me with the background of this information. If possible any sources? Was this information from BL friends/co-stars or from an interview he did? Any help will be much appreciated. Thanks.
Bey Logan : I heard this from several sources, including Bolo, George Lazenby and some of the stuntmen. I don't know that it was going to be an exact remake, but the premise was going to be the same.
10/ How would i go about getting HK newspaper reports or Bruce Lee HK interviews from 1971 to 1973 period? Can i gain access to these old rare archive materials. If so, what is the best way to do it?
Bey Logan : Your best bet would be to contact the existing Hong Kong newspapers and check if they have a microfilm archive of old Hong Kong papers.
11/ When you discovered the GOD dailies, how many reels were there in total? Do you know of other GOD reels existing?
Bey Logan : Thanks! Sorry I've been a bit slow responding. I was in Bangkok having meetings on Ong Bak 2. To answer your questions, the GOD dailies were not in the form of reels. They had a already been transferred to Betacam tape. I think that, apart from the infamous 'log scene', that's pretty much all there is.
12/ Have you interviewed Wong In Sik or any of the stuntmen that were involved in the outdoor filming. If so, what did they recall about the outdoor shoot? How many days, who was behind-the-camera, martial artists/actors involved (David Tadman revealed that Betty Ting Pei was present at the outdoor filming). Anything that you can kindly recall? Thanks Bey.
Bey Logan : I did interview Lam Ching-ying, and asked him about the exterior scenes. He remembered going out to the New Territories, setting up and shooting some action, taking some stills and coming back to the studio! After the many thousands of feet of film he'd shot in his career, he couldn't remember any details!
13/ Lastly, any idea how to contact James Tien (he would make a great Q&A for Nov 27th )? This fella must know a lot about the original filming, his role, storyline etc? Why hasn't anyone interviewed him in regards to GOD?
Bey Logan : James Tien is living in Taiwan. My understanding is that he's one of those guys who just doesn't want to do interviews about Bruce, or anything else!
14/ Last year Mr. David Tadman talked extensively about the numerous Bruce Lee "footage huntings" that he and Mr. Steve Kerridge were doing. It's a year later and what progress has been made? What has been found (definitely)? And can we expect to see these footages anytime soon? My most important question to Mr. Bey Logan and Mr. Steve Kerridge is this: What is the reason these rares are so hard to come by and furthermore - Why have they not been incorporated in any of the near dozen re-re and re-releases of Bruce's Films? Is it money? Is it politics? Or should we just hang it up and never expect these gems to see the light of day? Thank for your time. Kioko
Bey Logan : I guess David and Steve can respond more accurately regarding what materials were found where. As I mentioned in another post, I think one of the major reasons the footage doesn't get distributed legitimately is that the person with possession of the footage is asking for an unrealistically high price for it. There are also collectors who get a kick out of being the only ones with access to specific footage, and enjoy dangling it in front of the fans. The rights issues regarding most of this material seem to me to be comparatively straightforward.
My Thanks and Appreciation to Mr Bey Logan for answering our questions. My thanks to Mike, Jason H, Bruce Jensen & Kioko for their questions.