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New Bruce Lee Bio…

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(CNN) “Bruce Lee was training a friend one day when he did something unexpected.

But Lee ended the training session at his home on this particular day with a different type of flourish. He lit a joint and started puffing away. It came from a box of marijuana cigarettes he kept in his garage. Lee would later move on to hashish, carrying it around in little bags and nibbling on it like edibles.
“It raises the consciousness level,” Lee explained when another martial artist asked him why he got high.
That’s not the type of story one typically hears about Lee. Since he died at age 32, his legend has grown to such mythological levels that one martial artist calls him “kung fu Jesus.” A new biography, though, debunks some of the most popular myths about the man.
“Bruce Lee: A Life” by Matthew Polly is the first in-depth account of Lee’s journey from a street-brawling teenager to a global icon. The book, which comes on the 45th anniversary of Lee’s death, features interviews from everyone from his childhood classmates to friends who saw him smoke up to the woman who last saw him alive. Lee’s charisma, ambition and relentless appetite for combat leap off the pages. You can practically hear his catlike shrieks in some of the most vivid sections.
If you think you know Lee, this book may shock you.
Among its surprises:
Lee was a “kinetic genius” who could quickly master any martial arts fighting style. But he never learned to ride a bike and was declared medically unfit for the draft after failing his physical.
He has been portrayed as an impoverished immigrant who came to America to make it big, but he actually grew up in an affluent Hong Kong family with its own chauffer and two live-in maids.
He is seen as a Chinese superhero with a statue in Hong Kong, but he was also part Jewish.
Polly, who interviewed at least 100 of Lee’s friends and family members, says people often forget that Lee was virtually unknown in the United States when he died. His breakthrough movie, “Enter the Dragon,” was released less than a month after his mysterious death in Hong Kong in July 1973.
Lee is the only major Western icon whose fame is entirely posthumous, says Polly, who, as a skinny, bullied kid, was inspired by Lee’s films to later move to China and study kung fu at a Shaolin temple.
Lee wasn’t just an entertainer; he was an evangelist. Millions took up martial arts because of him, Polly says.
“No other celebrity changed people’s lives in that way,” Polly says. “Nobody watched a Steve McQueen movie and took up something. People study martial arts because of Lee, and it changed their lives for the better. Bruce Lee has a place in a lot of fans’ hearts as a demigod, or what I call a patron saint of kung fu. He had a missionary effect. “

He never apologized for being Asian

He also changed the way many Westerners regarded Asians, Polly’s book shows.
Lee was the “the first Asian American actor to embody the classic Hollywood definition of a star,” Polly wrote. “Men wanted to be him and women wanted to be with him.”
Lee’s pride in his heritage was contagious.
“More than anything else, what I liked most about Bruce was that he never apologized for being Oriental,” says one of Lee’s college girlfriends, a Japanese-American, in the book. “In a time when so many Asians were trying to convince themselves they were white, Bruce was so proud to be Chinese he was busting with it.”
Asian men were not traditionally depicted as sexual beings in Western films. Even Lee had only one brief love scene in the three movies he made. Away from the screen, though, Lee was a ladies’ man.
Lee was married with two kids but was caught up in the “Swinging Sixties free love ethos” and had extramarital affairs, Polly writes. There’s one passage in the book where a former mistress of Lee’s raves about how “knowledgeable” he was about a woman’s body.
The book also offers a peek into the Hollywood culture of the late 1960s and early ’70s, with intimate accounts of Lee’s friendships with stars like McQueen and James Coburn and the writer Stirling Silliphant. There’s a wonderful scene where Lee uses a martial arts lesson with Silliphant to unlock the writer’s repressed feelings about his father.
It turns out Lee was a bit of a hippie, too. At one time, he wore his hair long, sported love beads and donned dashikis. And he got high, which surprised some of the martial artists who trained with him. One judo expert quoted in the book stopped training with Lee at his home because he was sick of all the pot smoke swirling around.
Polly says he wasn’t trying to be salacious. He wanted to show another side of Lee beyond the “patron saint of kung fu” image. He interviewed Lee’s widow and daughter for the book but hasn’t heard from them since it published last month. Neither responded to CNN’s request for comment.
“I hope one day that they will see it as it is,” Polly says. “It was written from a place of love.”
Davis Miller, author of “The Tao of Bruce Lee,” says “fan-boys” won’t love Polly’s book.
“Those guys need to believe in kung fu Jesus,” says Miller, whom Polly consulted for his bio. “And they’re not getting that. They’re getting a guy who is human.”

Taking out Sammy Davis Jr.’s bodyguard

Lee, indeed, seemed superhuman in his film’s fight scenes. But how good was he when the cameras weren’t rolling? People still debate that question.
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Emily Blunt on the pressure of playing Mary Poppins

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Mary Poppins is a woman with a talent for putting things back together again.

“Which is why it’s rather apt that after 50 years, she’s returning to our screens at a time when the world is arguably most in need of being put back together.

And, Emily Blunt — who plays Mary Poppins in the upcoming sequel Mary Poppins Returns — is well aware of the impact her character has already had on the lives of those who watched the 1964 movie starring Julie Andrews.

Standing in full Edwardian get-up inside Shepperton Studios, Blunt told Mashable that she has fond memories of watching the film as a child. “The film, for me, and I think for most people, is one of those films that is seared into people’s memory, an emblem of their nostalgia in many ways,” says Blunt…………………………………………………”

Read more: https://mashable.com/article/emily-blunt-interview-mary-poppins-returns/

 

 

Director Rob Marshall and Emily Blunt on the set of Disney’s ‘Mary Poppins Returns’.

Image: Jay Maidment

 

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How Willem Dafoe Learned to Paint like Van Gogh

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Midway through artist-director Julian Schnabel’s new film At Eternity’s Gate, we see Vincent van Gogh, portrayed by actor Willem Dafoe, entirely consumed by the compulsion to paint. In the scene, the Dutch artist opens the door to his yellow-walled apartment in Arles, France, to find his friend, fellow artist Paul Guguin, sketching Madame Ginoux, a local café owner. Instantly compelled by what he sees, Van Gogh lunges into action, assembling his easel and grasping several paintbrushes in his left hand, while using his right to commit bold, feverish brushstrokes to canvas. His passion is enthralling—so much so, we forget that Dafoe is not a real painter at all.

At Eternity’s Gate envisions the final years of Van Gogh’s life, through a series of vignettes that straddle truth and fiction (much, though not all, is based on the trove of letters the artist left behind). We see his plight as an artist in Paris, his infatuation with the light and landscapes of Arles, and his declining mental health—including when he famously cut off his ear. But it’s not a straightforward account. “This isn’t a biopic, it doesn’t explain his life,” Dafoe recently explained at the New York Film Festival. “It’s really about painting.” Indeed, it is, first and foremost, the story of a painter as told by a painter: Schnabel, who is known for an idiosyncratic painting practice ranging from canvases covered in shattered plates to inkjet prints painted with purple-hued goats…………………………….”

Read the rest of the article here: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-willem-dafoe-learned-paint-van-gogh

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‘Love Actually’ turns 15: Fun facts about the movie

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