I was perusing David Carradine's career and noticed he played a role in The American Connection (2021), 12 years after his 2009 death. I understand that he had many roles and cameos that were released after his death, the last being in 2013. Was this role filmed for some other movie and just added to this one, or was the film really in the works for over 12 years?

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    Lots of people get posthumous credits in movies, e.g. for archive footage. JFK has been dead a lot longer than David Carradine, and yet his IMDB page lists hundreds of credits in the past decade alone. Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 14:54
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    @DarrelHoffman. That I understand, JFK was a public figure and his estate isn't paid for his appearances. David was credited for playing a general in this movie, which isn't quite the same as someone watching Kung Fu in the background.
    – rtaft
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 15:31

1 Answer 1


The director has this to say:

Jeff Espanol started his 2nd film project in 2007 in the USA. One of the leading american actors passed away which suspended the filming. After several years of working in lobbying, Jeff was able to return to his passion in 2014/2015 and finish the film 'The American Connection'. The images filmed in 2007 became flash backs and today 'The American Connection' is finished in its entirety.

To support this, i noticed this 2007 magazine article:

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Which matches this behind the scenes photograph:

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Which probably answers the question:

Was this role filmed for some other movie and just added to this one,

Yes and No, the movie, as far as I can tell, was shot in 2007, well within Carradine's lifetime.

According to available material the production was named "Fashion The Movie, Inc." at the time.

Names can change during production and often shoot under a title that differs from the one released. Unknown when the title changed.

Given the information, it is likely that at least Carradine's scenes, shot back in 2007, were changed to become flashbacks in the new version of the movie that became "The American Connection", when the project resumed in 2014.

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or was the film really in the works for over 12 years?

See the directors information:

  • they suspended filming after a major actor passed away
  • the project was on pause until 2014/15
  • footage shot when the talent was alive (possibly including other footage shot) was then recut as flash backs.
  • released much later than anticipated
  • in addition to the above, with regards to the directors activity in seeking funding for the film in 2007, it appears that they ran out of money. So part of the reason for its delay is that they were unable to fund any further progress on the film until 2014, rather than it being solely the fault of the talent passing causing the halt.

Films can have very long production times, some may never even see the light of day (I should know...) - this looks like it was stuck for a long time.

The above fits, as the editor, Lauren Auricchio, on the film was involved in 2014, when the project appears to have restarted:

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In 2017 there are cast changes that perhaps support either new shoots supporting the new version of the film, or that it was nearing potential release in that year.

Note also that a film can be finished, but not picked up for distribution. Therefore the finished film remains unreleased. This appears to have happened here, as there is a lot of activity supporting promotion for the film, and then very little between 2017 and 2021, when it appears a distribution deal had been struck.

Two tags on IMDB have been added in connection with the film that give a clue to its troubled history: unreleased-film and development hell


Someone actually queried Carradine's posthumous releases:

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