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Bruce Baron

Si nous aimons rire d'un certain cinéma déviant, nous sommes très loin de mépriser les hommes et les femmes qui s'y sont impliqués ou compromis. Il nous a ainsi paru enrichissant de faire raconter le nanar et son univers par les gens qui l'ont vécu de l'intérieur. La diversité des intervenants et de leurs réponses nous a rendu encore plus proches du cinéma que nous aimons : vous découvrirez, au fil des entretiens que ces différentes vedettes ont bien voulu nous accorder, des informations précieuses pour le cinéphile et le cinéphage, des anecdotes cocasses et, en esquisse, le portrait attachant de personnages souvent hauts en couleur.
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Bruce Baron (page 4)

In two different productions, you seem to have used your knowledge of the French language : you played a French ambassador (imagine how excited we were to learn that!) in « Shangaï Fung Wung » and co-produced at least one episode of « Joy in love », a serie made fot TV with porn actress Zara Whites. Could you tell us more about these productions? Did you also play a part in « Joy »?

Sorry, while I did play the French Ambassador in the Shanghai film, I spoke Chinese SoF. As for “Joy in Love” I was a line producer and second unit director [they let me direct the fight scenes]. Mostly I was just translating French/Chinese/French for crew and cast. It was a largely French TV crew shooting soft porn in Macau. The principal cast was imported. I did not play a part in front of the camera. [Note: since this interview, we could check that Mr. Baron does instead appear, in a brief cameo as a fashion photographer, and chews the scenery like there is no tomorrow. He does, however, keep his clothes on]

In the biographic notice you wrote for the IMDB, you end with those ironic words : “Retired [unsuccessfully] from the cinema at the tender age of 40 [before it was too late], got a real job and made some money”. Where do you live nowadays and what are your professional activities? Did you stay in Asia or go back to America?

I am running a small Asia wide business I got into in HK in the early ‘90s and living mostly on the Big Island of Hawaii. I have kept a small flat in HK and return there 3-4 times a year for my business, which has nothing to do with the film industry.

Many ridiculous legends were spread about you on the internet, including the report of your death in Sweden in 1986 because of an overdose of diet products! How do you explain this and where did it origin?

I have no idea how that story got started. Perhaps it was started by Godfrey Ho in an attempt to boost his sales [?]. I speculate that the Ninja internet site “personality” known a ‘Garaijan' may be responsible, and I further suspect that Garaijan may be yet another pseudonym for Godfrey Ho [Garaijan roughly translates phonetically from some Chinese dialects as ‘Fake person']. When I first noticed these reports I thought it was somewhat amusing [and after all, I did get to use the famous Mark Twain riposte “Rumours of my death are exaggerated and premature”] but alas, as it was picked up on more of those ridiculous Ninja sites it became a little annoying, not the least because it had me dead of an overdose of drugs… and diuretics of all things. The fact is I never formally studied Martial Arts and never took part in any martial arts tournament of any kind. Although I have been to Sweden, I can assure you I did not die there, nor did I compete in any MA Tournament there. I was of course reasonably fit, and had some weeks of Martial tutelage in prep for Dragon Force, and occasionally during later films, but mostly it was film choreography, to me.

Looking back, what are your best memories of your film career and the achievement you are the most proud of? What kind of movies do you like? Did you have any actors who were “role models” for you when you started your career?

I'm afraid I can't say I'm truly proud of any of the films I participated in, although some are definitely less embarrassing than others, and most I have never seen. I suppose the only thing I can be proud of is that I survived that period of my life pretty much intact, and managed to come out of it, without any serious injuries, mentally or physically. I also lived through it all without any lapses into serious self delusion. I knew I was being lazy, and probably chasing an unrealizable dream, and I never lost sight of that fact, but just went along for the ride [hey, I figured that as long as people were foolish enough to keep calling me up and asking me to do leads, and paying me the going rate for doing it, I was willing to go along with it, just for the ride; but I never, after Dragon Force, ever really thought I had much chance of it really going anywhere. It was just the path of least resistance].

In retrospect, I [now] like Dragon Force for its pure silly Kitsch. ‘Kill Bill 2' helped me to see that, and get over my initial disappointment with it. I actually find it fun and funny to watch nowadays, although at the time it came out I was very disappointed in it. Probably the most fun to make were those silly films for Kinavesa, because of the camaraderie on set [we were all getting fucked over, and couldn't do much about it except grin and bear it and see who could fuck the most the ‘actresses', and drink the most beer and still get up in the morning]. Even though at the time it was frustrating to be doing such crap, knowing it was crap, and not being able to do anything about it.

I like lots of different kinds of films. My favourite directors are probably Tarantino and Kurazawa. My favourite films, if I had to choose, are probably ‘Pulp Fiction' and ‘Darzu Alzala'.

The first time I worked with any actors who were actually role models was probably on Wild Geese. [Borgnine vs. Kinski], and that was already midway through my ‘career'.

Pretty sad, isn't it? Definitely a cautionary tale. So, for any star struck young kid here is my advice : [if you must,] start seriously in your teens, go to a good acting school, graduate from University, and if you aren't making a good living by the time you are 30, FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO DO.

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