The entertainment industry is willing to overlook a lot when it comes to its stars. Substance abuse, violent outbursts and subsequent arrests... and sometimes even the fact that the actor in question is no longer alive.
Hey, you can't let something like a little death get in the way. There's money to be made.
6Bruce Lee in Game of Death
In 1973, Bruce Lee burst onto the scene with Enter the Dragon and was on track to become a major Hollywood star, or at least he would have if he hadn't died three months before the movie's release in the U.S. But the producers weren't about to let the minor issue of Lee's mysterious demise ruin a promising young career, so they set about making a blockbuster follow-up in the face of all logic and reason.
"Of course we want to honor his memory. Shove a stick in his ass and call some puppeteers."
Before making Enter the Dragon, Lee had been working on his own movie, The Game of Death, but had only managed to finish filming part of the climatic action scene. The sequence featured him fighting the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar while encased in a yellow track suit that proved his skills at martial arts did not extend to costume design.
The director of Enter the Dragon took these unfinished scraps and tried to cobble together a finished film using new footage featuring several stand-ins who, aside from also being Asian guys who knew how to kick and punch, didn't resemble Bruce Lee in any way.
To explain this, the producers inserted footage of Bruce Lee's real-life funeral to suggest that the main character had faked his own death, thus allowing Bruce Lee's fill-ins to spend the rest of the movie wearing fake beards and other wacky disguises without disrupting the narrative. We don't like to judge, but when you're including shots of your star's actual dead body lying in his actual casket, anything less than the biggest box office receipts of all time would land you the worst haunting in the history of the universe.
Of course this death fakery plot needed some sort of set-up, so early on in the film they had to shoot around the impostors using shadows, giant sunglasses, incredibly awkward editing and gluing a cardboard cutout of Bruce Lee to a mirror.
You read that right.
By the end of the movie all bets are off, and absolutely no attempt is made to disguise the new actor's appearance.
"Screw it, they all look the same anyway."
Inexplicably, the producers also saw fit to make Game of Death 2 three years later, splicing together even more unused footage of the martial arts legend. Bruce Lee's character is actually killed off early in this movie, but you sure as hell wouldn't know it from the trailer.