Tag: Bound for Glory

“…Fresh insights into the collaborative effort of filmmaking…”

I’ve been going back and forth all day about how to deal, if at all, with the more sensational/embarrassing aspects of the ongoing story of David Carradine’s death.

I’m not doing a gossip column here. Ethical issues aside, on a day to day basis, I have little interest in it. However, there are times when I’m just as fascinated by the more dramatic details of other people’s lives as anyone, particularly if they were interesting people, and David Carradine certainly qualified. In any case, if you’re a cinephile and you deny being a bit of a voyeur, you’re probably no fun to spend time with.

Also, how can anyone ignore a possible auto-erotic asphyxiation, a morality tale about what can happen when self-described recovering alcoholics apparently return to drinking, and even an apparent suspicion of the possibility of foul play? Considering my linking to the stories above, I’d be a huge hypocrite to deny my own interest in this stuff, but as Will Harris’ memorial piece from the morning of reminds us, this was a human being and there’s a good chance I might well find myself dying in some embarrassing way. (Perhaps choking on a pastrami sandwich, clad only boxers and a mustard-stained Astro-Boy t-shirt, while watching “Once More With Feeling” for the 200th time.)

In any case, I don’t have much to add to it except for one more link, from close to where I live in the heart of American Cinephilia. It’s writer Chris Willman‘s account of a post-screening Q&A involving Carradine and legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler — an important filmmaker and a complex dude in his own right — gone seriously weird. I don’t know how I missed hearing about this event when it actually happened. I’ve been to hundreds of such post-screening discussions and while things have occasionally gotten slightly prickly under the surface when former coworkers reunite to discuss eventful productions, I’ve never seen anything rivaling this. But, as the putative host of the event, a screening of Hal Ashby’s epic biopic, “Bound for Glory,” implied in the comment I lifted for the title of this post, it does kind of a give us a peak inside the hairier side of picture-making, which may have been just a bit hairier in the 1970s.

Kwai Chang Caine has gone to meet his Master

Sad news to report: actor David Carradine has died.

I’d be depressed about this news no matter what, given Carradine’s impressive body of work, which includes the classic TV series, “Kung Fu,” as well as such films as “Death Race 2000,” “Bound for Glory” (where he played Woody Guthrie), “Q: The Winged Serpent” (one of my favorite cult sci-fi/horror flicks), and, most recently, Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” films. But what really hits home is that I actually interviewed Carradine last year, when he was doing the promotional rounds for “Kung Fu Killer,” the miniseries which reunited him with his “Kill Bill” co-star, Daryl Hannah.

When I heard the news, I immediately thought back to these particular comments, which came about after I asked him how much longer he thought he could get away with playing a bad-ass:

Well, it’s almost a vanity of mine that I can still do this stuff when I’m 70. I think I can probably still do it when I’m in my 80s, but we’ll have to see. But I don’t really feel like I’m getting any older. I don’t know what that’s about…but I’m happy about it! I don’t hurt, I don’t much get tired, there doesn’t seem to be much that I can’t still do, and there are even some things that I didn’t used to be able to do that I can do now. I actually seem to be getting stronger, and I have more endurance and everything. I don’t know, I can’t explain it.

Wow, that makes me sad.

It also makes me very skeptical of the current reports that he may have taken his own life. (As of this writing, they’re still unconfirmed.) Suicide would go against not only the things he said during our conversation but, indeed, that he’s said in just about every interview I’ve ever read or seen with the guy. He always seemed to be as inherently spiritual as the character who brought him his greatest fame. I’m sure he’d be at peace with himself at the moment of his passing, but it just feels unlikely to me that he’d opt to be the one who chose that moment.

By the way, I think this is the first time someone I’ve interviewed for Bullz-Eye has died. Let’s hope that, despite our editor-in-chief’s comment when I mentioned this fact, it does not signify the beginning of “the Bullz-Eye curse.”

Rest in peace, grasshopper. At least we’ve got a lot of great work to remember you by…

And, of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t offer up what’s arguably Carradine’s signature scene within the “Kill Bill” films:

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