How Taimak Got The Bruce Leroy Role
In 1984, Taimak was not an actor but there were rumors in the fighting circuit that a young black martial artist was needed to star in a film. In a 2008 interview for Kung Fu Cinema Taimak described it saying, “Every martial arts fighter on the East Coast wanted to be in it. It was huge. We knew Vanity was going to be in it, everyone wanted the role.”
There weren’t any young black martial artist on the acting scene at the time so the film-makers decided on having an open casting call. Hundreds of people from all walks of life came out to audition including a 19-year-old Taimak. Not being trained as an actor, Taimak’s nerves got the best of him; he blew his audition. He was crushed and it seemed as though his quest for the Glow wasn’t going to even get started.
Luckily producers saw some magic in him. They believed he had the looks and magnetism of an actor with the skill and body of a street fighter. Although Taimak felt they thought he still didn’t have a chance they gave him a part of the script to take with him to work on.
Taimak’s father and a close friend, Richie, helped him realized the role was a once in a lifetime opportunity that was seemingly written for him. He worked on the script and with renewed confidence he went back to the casting director. Determined to get the part he asked for another shot and nailed it.
Life After The Last Dragon
If you are reading this you have probably wondered, like I did for many years, what happened to “Bruce” Leroy Green after The Last Dragon. Why didn’t he do any other major films? Unfortunately in the 80’s (and even now) Hollywood did not have many roles for black men, especially young inexperienced black men, who were primarily martial artist.
On the TV One’s Life After special Taimak said “They (Hollywood) didn’t know what to do with somebody like myself” Look for the full scoop directly from Taimak on why he didn’t sign on for a sequel in his autobiography (see link below).
In the TVOne special The Last Dragon’s producer Rupert Hitzig said Taimak held out for a 3 picture deal but in a March 29, 2013, interview with DJ Ms. Drama on Breakthru Radio, Taimak suggested that the TVOne special was not accurate as the story was not so clear cut.
He said in the interview that “it was much more complex than that… it has to do with the dynamics of deal making in Hollywood…it wasn’t that I didn’t want to do it, what 19, 20 year old doesn’t want to continue the fun of making movies… let’s just say part of the people involved in the negotiation tried to muscle me rather than explain to me… the approach… made me put my defenses up.” He also mentioned that Rupert Hitzig didn’t know what happened because he wasn’t in the room during the negotiation. Whatever the reason, the sad truth is that The Last Dragon 2 never happened…
You would expect him to be bitter after the fanfare that came with being The Last Dragon ended but he has moved on and lives a very fulfilled life. He stated in a heart to hear letter to fans “It was the exception, not the rule, for me to be hired as the lead in The Last Dragon”
What has Taimak been doing since The Last Dragon?
Taimak’s Autobiography: Taimak, The Last Dragon came out in March 2016 and he started a National Last Dragon Screening & Book Tour in April 2016.
- How to Buy The Book (hardcover, softcover, audiobook)
- More information on The 2016 National Last Dragon Screening & Book Tour
Taimak’s post-Last Dragon resume includes
- The National Last Dragon Tour (Book Promotion & Movie Screenings across the US)
- Autobiography: Taimak, TheLast Dragon
- The theatrical version of 12 Angry Men: True Stories of Being a Black Man in America Today
- The Last Dragon 30th Anniversary Tour
- Wrote, directed & produced the detective film “I’ve Seen Things”
- Wellness program for young people: http://www.unfoldingdream.org
- Series of fitness DVDs titled “Taimak FIT” (Find Inner Transformation)
Starred in over a dozen plays including playing Patrick Swayze’s character in the off-broadway hit comedy adaptation of “Roadhouse” & along side Brian McKnight and James Avery (Uncle Phil in the Fresh Prince) in “Cheaters“
- UFC referee
- Pro Wrestling appearances
Cameo’s on several TV shows including
“A Different World”
“Beverly Hills 90210”
- “Malcolm & Eddie”
Martial Arts Choreographer and Instructor to the stars including:
Gavin Rosedale on Bush’s Video “Chemical Between Us”
Madonna as her martial arts coordinator on her 2001 Drowned World Tour
Debbie Allen’s 1989 “Special Look” music video
- Video: Taimak & Ernie Reyes Jr. Breaking Boards – May 2015
- Taimak: A Heart to Heart Letter to The Fans – Jan 2015
- Taimak Talks The Last Dragon 30th Anniversary with K Fox – Nov 2014
- Video: The Last Dragon Reunion Panel Discussion – March 2014
- Black Hollywood Live: Portraits with Taimak – November 2013
Happy Birthday Taimak: 49 and still glowing -June 2013
- Taimak Interview with DJ Ms Drama on BreakThru Radio – May 2013
- The Last Dragon 2: The Glow – The Sequel that Never Happened – Aug 2012
Taimak in WMAC Masters “Battle of Brothers – 1996 – he shows up at 1:14 as Striking Eagle
- Taimak in “No More Dirty Deals” – 1993
The Last Dragon is now on Blu-Ray!
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