Fred Weintraub Talks Sequel to Bruce Lee’s ‘Enter the Dragon’

As martial arts film fanboys and girls are aware, there’s been talk of a sequel to, or remake of Bruce Lee’s iconic 1973 “Enter the Dragon” for five years — at least.  Now, producer Fred Weintraub tells us that he expects “Awaken the Dragon” to be his next filmic undertaking, and it’s actually a prequel to the vintage film.

Who could possibly follow in Lee’s footsteps?

“No one.  That’s why it’s a prequel,” Weintraub replies.  He adds, deadpan, “Unless I get Bruce to come back from that Shaolin temple in Korea where he’s been teaching Elvis.”

Right now, Weintraub is hitting the promotional trail for his new “Bruce Lee, Woodstock and Me” memoir — a fun read that offers a ringside table to some watershed moments in pop culture history in which Weintraub was personally involved.  Besides the madness that went on behind the camera in China while making “Enter the Dragon,” there’s Weintraub’s years as owner of New York’s famed The Bitter End nightclub.   There, he stood up for the rights of controversial singers including Pete Seeger, got into hot water when Lenny Bruce spewed obscenities from his stage, and helped start the careers of stars like Woody Allen, Joan Rivers and Neil Diamond.  There’s also the wild tale of the making of “Woodstock,” the movie that saved Warner Bros. — and Hollywood — in 1970, which was Weintraub’s first feature as a Warner Bros. VP.  And more.

In early April, he’ll be back at The Bitter End, now celebrating its 50th anniversary year.  “I’m going to do a signing.  I’ve talked to Robert Klein, Judy Collins — I spoke to Woody.  I don’t know who’ll come, but some of them will come,” he says.  “It will be like home week for me.”

MEANWHILE:  Weintraub, who does lectures, is used to being surrounded by eager film students asking questions.  “People ask, ‘What’s happening to the movie business?  Is this the end?’  And I say, ‘It’s the beginning!  This is the time of the greatest opportunity ever.  In five years, there’ll be 10 million people paying $2 to see a new movie on its first night on the internet.  I found the business fun.  It’s still fun,” insists the octogenarian filmmaker.

“I’m a great advocate of anybody in the business getting a liberal arts education.  Don’t just learn how to edit, how to use a camera.  Know art and music — all of it.  Every producer I know who was successful had other interests besides making movies.”


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This entry was posted in The Hollywood Exclusive by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and tagged , , , , , on by .

About Stacy Jenel Smith

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley when it was a kids' Shangri La in the 60s and we had Fabulous Eddie's miniature golf and trampolines on Ventura Boulevard. My big brother frequented The Third Eye psychedelic shop back in the day, but he wound up turning out anyway. Dad was an NBC video man who worked on "Laugh-In," Dean Martin's show, and specials by everyone from Sinatra to Fred Astaire. Mom was a first class home maker and PTA and GCA volunteer. They're still doing great. Anxious to get going in life, I quit college and jumped into journalism when I was still a teenager, and was writing for the New York Times syndicate and People magazine before turning 20. But that was a long time, many adventures, lots of traveling around the world and thousands of interviews ago. I go back to the very last days of hot type and getting to talk to Henry Fonda and Bette Davis, and Sammy Davis at the old Brown Derby...What a ride. That's in no small part thanks to my amazing writing partner, Marilyn Beck, one of the grand old-school Hollywood columnist stars -- a true star -- who knows how to do it right. I'm lucky, for sure. Now is fun, too. I love going out to events with my 17-year-old daughter (Jonas Brothers!). Seeing everything fresh through her eyes renews my excitement about the game. In-between I went back and finished school -- University of Redlands -- married, divorced, and at long last found my true love. My favorite things outside of the show business realm are being with my family, my faith and spiritual growth, learning new things (from doing Qigong to uploading stuff on Facebook), and running. See you on the trail.

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