Just days after J.J. Abrams provided him an exclusive screening of May’s “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” a fan who wanted nothing more than to see the new film has died.
Daniel Craft, who was identified by The Hollywood Reporter, was 41. Both his wife, Paige Craft, and his brother were at his side when he died Friday in a New York hospital.
“Dan would be rolling his eyes at being ‘the inspirational cancer story,’ but he’s done a lot for movies over the years,” Grady Hendrix, a friend of Craft’s, told THR. “It’s nice that the movies finally did something for him.”
Craft was a lifelong film buff, especially of Asian films which at the time featured unknown actors like Jet Li and Jackie Chan. He was a founder of the New York Asian Film Festival, which helped bring such early films by those action stars to the United States when other distributors weren’t interested, and helped build an audience for Asian films. He would even appear in a few Chinese television series, according to the trade publication, playing an “evil white guy,” and taking advantage of the fact that he was fluent in Mandarin.
Craft was also an extra in Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill, Vol. 1,” where he played “the bald white guy dancing on a dance floor,” Hendrix said.
After Hendrix made a plea through Reddit for someone to screen the new Star Trek film about a month after Craft was told his cancer was terminal, Abrams sent one of the film’s producers to Craft’s house with a DVD containing a rough cut of the film.
Following the movie, which Hendrix said Craft loved, Craft returned to bed, and would never leave again. By the end of the week, his wife took him to the hospital, and Craft would die later that evening.
Neither director J.J. Abrams or movie co-writer Damon Lindelof have talked publicly about the private showing, but Hendrix said they were more than gracious with how quickly they responded and provided this final wish.
“Star Trek: Into Darkness,” a sequel to the 2009 blockbuster hit, premieres in May.