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Date added: 04 June 2009

David Carradine 

The day we let Mr Kung Fu play with a Samurai sword!
 
SwindonWeb was deeply saddened to hear the news today that David Carradine had died. The former Kung Fu star having been found dead in a Bangkok hotel.
 
The Kill Bill actor certainly had a big effect on us when he made a fleeting guest appearance in Swindon in 2005 - and for a laugh we turned up for our interview with a Samurai sword!
 
A gesture that soon turned what was expected to be a routine question and answer session into an unexpectedly entertaining - and at times frightening - display of swordmanship that ended with Carradine with cut fingers - and our SwindonWeb photographer with scar just below his Adam's apple to remember the occasion.
 
Knife-wielding hilarity that was only stopped when two very nervous Brunel Centre security staff asked the 68-year-old to kill any thoughts of swinging the bladed instrument in the main shopping mall!
 
Spoil sports!
 
Cheering up Mr Kung Fu - pic by pic
 
We arrive and he's bored stiff.
How can we awake Grasshopper and save him
from this journalistic death by a thousand questions?
 
David Carradine in Swindon
 
Tell him we've got a sword. That'll get his attention....
 
David Carradine in Swindon
 
He likes it!...
 
David Carradine in Swindon
 
Maybe too much. What's he doing?!...
 
David Carradine in Swindon
 
Fine, Mr Carradine. Anything you say!
 
David Carradine in Swindon
 
From the archives, he's our interview.
 
David Carradine interview
07 April 2005

Mission: Kill Bill
Weapon of choice: Samurai sword borrowed from Leigh Childs
Method: Lull subject into a false sense of security on the pretence of an interview with SwindonWeb, then strike when he least expects it
Status: Mission failed.... although subject is wounded in the index finger. Blood is drawn but injury does not appear to be fatal. Would-be assassin retreats before he gets a serious kicking Kung Fu style.
Despite having starred in over 100 films and gained global stardom as Kwai Chang Caine in Sixties series Kung Fu, David Carradine is Bill.
 
From his imposing swagger to his pronounced speech and unnerving glare, he's every bit the ruthless assassin of Tarantino's masterpiece.
 
"I'm basically Bill without the killing," he reassures us in an exclusive interview during his visit to the Brunel Centre's Infinitely Better store on Thursday. 

"I mean he talks like me for a start! Quentin had been reading my autobiography Endless Highway and he based the character's dialogue around the way I wrote. He just made me sound a little more intellectual."

And if the sixty-eight year-old doesn't come across quite as wise as the villain that's propelled him back into the limelight, this may be an effect of his excessive past.
 
On the back of the global success of Kung Fu in the Sixties, Carradine truly lived the rock 'n' roll lifestyle.

A prolonged period of LSD abuse and a series of failed marriages (he's now on his fifth), he lived beyond his means and, despite making more films than most of us have seen, never fulfilled his true potential in Hollywood.
 
That was until a certain big-chinned, motor-mouthed director came along and resurrected his all-but faded career.

"I prefer to call it a renaissance," he says dryly. "I like that word."
Whatever he calls it, Carradine is full of praise for the great director.
"He is the best I've ever worked with. He's more communicative than any other director I've known. Quentin and I see things in the same way. We're both comic book freaks and we're both crazy about Samurai movies and all that stuff.

"I paid so much attention to him on set. Whatever he told me I did it and I gave him exactly what he wanted. And if he didn't like it, I'd do it again. So I can't take much credit for the performance."

Whether or not Carradine's 'renaissance' will last beyond the two volumes of Kill Bill is yet to be seen. But it's a sure sign a movie star has reached the zenith of his fame when he's invited to appear in Swindon!

"It's my first time here but it seems a nice place," he says. "I've been in England for about a week then I'm flying to Germany. I have a lot of fun doing these signing sessions."

And though he tried his best to hide any such enjoyment beneath his sober demeanour, Carradine cannot knock the dedication of his fans.
 
The queue of autograph hunters formed outside Infinitely Better long before the star attraction's arrival in a limousine at 4pm, with some devotees claiming their positions as early as 8 in the morning! 

"A lot more fans have emerged since Kill Bill. But a lot of the young people are into the Kung Fu series too. I think there's kind of been a crossover. More people want me to sign a photograph of Kill Bill these days, but it's pretty much the same type of people."

So with Bill very much killed, save for the prospect of a single-volume version, have the offers flooded in from mainstream Hollywood?

"I've had more than one offer!" he says cagily. "But I can't talk about it. There's stuff in the pipeline but I can't give anything away. It's a secret!"

How about if I fire a truth serum dart into his leg like the one he used on Uma Thurman's Bride at the end of Volume 2?

"Well OK, I did just finish shooting one movie about a week ago. It's a Western called Miracle at Sage Creek. I always love doing Westerns. I like the horses. And the guns. And the boots. And all that stuff!"
But will we see any more of Bill?

"Quentin had in mind several follow-ups, but it's difficult because I'm dead! There was a talk of a prequel, which if he ever gets round to making it will be a cartoon. That was always his plan. But you never know what Quentin's going to do next. He changes his mind every fifteen minutes!"

With that the ice cool customer poses for a round of publicity shots, barely breaking the frown that's defined his long career.

And as for the assassination attempt? Well, in all honesty the master swordsman cut his own dumb self during the photo shoot, shortly after boasting that our sword wasn't half as sharp as what he was used to!

Before any mention of legal suits, SwindonWeb swiftly reclaimed the sword and left Carradine to face the hoards of dedicated fans, armed only with a pen.
 
But given the amount of money flooding in for his valuable scrawl, perhaps the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.
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