Hollywood’s Most Tragic Story: What Actually Happened On Set of The Crow?
The studio's greed set off a chain of disastrous events.
Brandon Lee’s finest hour was to come with the premiere of the movie The Crow, which tells of love, death and revenge. The movie did make Brandon a cult figure, but he couldn’t see it. On March 31, 1993, the 28-year-old son of Bruce Lee died on the set.
It seemed like things weren't going as planned from the very first day on the set of The Crow. One of the crew members was burned when he accidentally hit a power line with his camera crane. Then one of the equipment trucks burned down. And the list could go on and on. All of this later led to the claim that The Crow was "cursed."
And yet, as much as one would like to attribute all the troubles to supernatural forces, the reality is much more disappointing. The Crow's troubles were caused by ordinary human greed.
The filming of the movie was financed by Paramount, and the management doubted the prospects of the project. They were even thinking of not releasing the movie in theaters at all, but directly on video. All this led to significant budget cuts.
Brandon Lee was killed by the same studio stinginess that made the creators save every dollar.
A large arsenal of weapons was used during the filming, including a Smith & Wesson .44 caliber revolver. It was not a dummy, but a real gun belonging to a member of the film crew.
One of the fundamental differences between a revolver and a self-loading pistol is that when it is pointed at the camera, you can see if the cartridges are loaded. Therefore, when filming scenes with a revolver, especially when it is shown in close-up, it is usually loaded with dummy cartridges.
But to save money, the creators of The Crow did something different. They took real cartridges, removed the bullets and gunpowder, and loaded the revolver with them. It turned out to be cheaper than buying dummies.
The future tragedy could have been prevented if the barrel had been inspected by a gunsmith. But he was not there at the time. The main scenes of the shooting had already been filmed, so for the same overall economy, the creators decided that there was no point in paying a gunsmith to shoot a simple scene with a single shot.
To make the shot look more impressive, the revolver was loaded with a blank cartridge containing an increased amount of gunpowder, which was capable of producing a bright flash.
And as we already know, on March 31, 1993, one of the actors pointed a revolver at Lee and pulled the trigger. Powder gases pushed the bullet out of the barrel at about the same speed as if it had been fired from a live round. It struck Brandon in the stomach and lodged in his spine.
The actor was immediately rushed to the hospital, but despite the doctors' best efforts, he died. The actor passed away 17 days before his own wedding.