Bruce Lee’s classic film Enter the Dragon faced a multitude of challenges

Actor and martial artist Bob Wall, who played bodyguard O’Hara in the film, told Black Belt Magazine (via Far Out) that an extra in the film once spoke about Lee in Cantonese during a break in filming. “I guess you’re just acting out your fights. You’re not real!” Wall recalled the man saying, noting that Lee was challenged often but generally “kept his cool.” This time, though, Wall said Lee decided to go the extra mile, and during the fight, Lee “slapped him until the guy was all bloody and messed up.” Co-star Bolo Yeung also described the fight in an interview shared on YouTube (via ScreenRant). Yeung said the extra wanted to test Lee’s Jeet Kune Do, with Lee winning the fight with a high kick.

A fight like this ended in Quentin Tarantino’s 2019 film “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood,” prompting Lee’s family to note that Tarantino’s version wasn’t particularly accurate. Less well known are Lee’s quieter behind-the-scenes contributions to “Enter the Dragon,” as when he, according to his daughter Shannon, “rewrote most of the script.” In his book “Be water, my friend”, Shannon Lee writes that the original script was “terrible”, with “none of the iconic scenes that exist today”.

Bruce Lee rewrote it and demanded that the original screenwriter be fired (a move that wouldn’t have been out of line, given that his production company had helped finance the film). According to Shannon Lee, the studio lied to his father, saying the writer had been fired while keeping him on. According to Matthew Polly’s biography “Bruce Lee: A Life,” Warner Bros. even discussed recasting Bruce Lee rather than granting him the level of creative control he had requested. Bruce Lee was on the verge of not signing the contract, but the studio eventually agreed to his terms.

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