In 1990 I dated a lovely young man on the rise to stardom. Brandon Lee, perhaps best known as famed martial artist Bruce Lee's son and the actor who perished on the set of the gothic-comic film The Crow, at the age of 28, was a true artist, driven to act because he valued the craft more than money or star status.
In researching my book Smash, Crash and Burn: Tales From the Edge of Celebrity I unearthed footage from a guerilla shoot Brandon and I did one night between paid work. We shot a scene from David Mamet's incendiary play, Edmond, portraying two fairly despicable characters in the throes of a one-night stand.
I'm not an actor anymore, but this footage reminds me of why I love actors and will defend them against criticism to the end. Because most actors come to the work for the sake of the work. In the words of playwright John Patrick Shanley, "Act for celebration, for search, for grieving, for worship, to express that desolate sensation of wandering through the howling wilderness. Don't worry about Art. Do these things and it will be Art."
I hope this video -- which depicts two very green, very earnest actors trying to embody those ideals -- finds Brandon's remaining loyal fans and gives them one more chance to gaze upon a face that should still be with us.
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