The director worked in secret and for three years with his 32-year-old actor son to prepare him for the role.
Will the prince of Kung-Fu finally have a film worthy of the name telling his life? Ang Lee, Oscar winner for Life of Pi, is currently working on a film about the iconic actor. Mason Lee, his own son, will be there in the shoes of the Chinese-American actor who once started in the series The green hornet.
After Gemini Man, released in 2019, Ang Lee will therefore tackle an American legend of cinema: Bruce Lee. The director has indeed finalized an agreement with 3000 Pictures (a subsidiary belonging to Sony) to make a film on the iconic martial artist with his son Mason Lee in the main role.
In this project, he will be surrounded by Dan Futterman on the screenplay, Lawrence Grey, Shannon Lee, Ang Lee, Ben Everard and Brian Bell on production. There remains a major problem: to find the magic of the one who was called “the Martial Arts Nureyev”. If Bruce Lee’s acting was unfailingly sober, it only took one fight for the “little Dragon” to wake up and print the film indelibly. Protruding muscles, tense face, piercing gaze, he exudes such physical magnetism that you completely forget his sixty-seven meter and his sixty-three kilos all wet.
With surprising virtuosity, Bruce Lee bewitched the camera. His flayed meows prolong with feline accuracy his slightest gestures of Chinese boxing. Lively and with deadly precision, he orchestrated whirling ballets based on whipped, chased, returned kicks. His headlines are stunning and his nunchakus unstoppable. During those magical moments, Bruce Lee was fighting “as echo responds to sound”. These intense kung-fu choreographies, his jumping agility still fascinate today when he has only shot six films in all and for all.
Anyway, it is now up to Ang Lee to tell the short and brilliant existence of this extraordinary actor. Everything will be done under the watchful eye of Elizabeth Gabler and Marisa Paiva who are supervising the project for the studio, and who had already worked with Ang Lee on Life of Pi.
Bruce Lee is a project that has long fascinated Ang and a deeply moving story that depicts the triumphs and conflicts of one of the greatest action heroes of our time.
Elizabeth Gabler, producer
“Bruce Lee is a project that has long fascinated Ang and a deeply moving story that depicts the triumphs and conflicts of one of the greatest action heroes of our time., said Elizabeth Gabler. VSat Sony and 3000 Pictures, we are proud to help Ang Lee create what we believe will be an extraordinary event for cinemas.»
For the anecdote Ang Lee has been secretly working on this project for a long time, even preparing his son for this role for three years. Mason Lee has been training for the role in Asia for the past few years, while still locked up. The 32-year-old appeared in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Very Bad Trip 2and more recently in the Taiwanese romantic comedy stand-by-me and Hong Kong dramas Limbo and Who Killed Cock Robin (Mu Ji Zhe) which earned him a Golden Horse Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
In front of his father’s camera, Mason Lee will take on the features of Bruce Lee, who became one of the first Chinese-American actors to break into television, playing the role of Kato in the 1960s television series The green hornet.
Bruce Lee was a bridge between East and West. He brought Chinese kung fu to the world. He was an iconic stage performer who revolutionized both martial arts and action cinema.
Basically, Bruce Lee’s success is due to his Hollywood failure. He embodies the revenge of the Third World on the West in the early 1970s. His Sino-American name reveals both his quest for identity, his desire to integrate into the dominant system and, at the same time, he is the very admission of his badly assumed bastardy.
Because in reality the real name of Bruce Lee was Lee Yuen-kam. Born on November 27, 1940 in San Francisco’s Chinatown, his actor parents were quick to return to Hong Kong. Little Bruce spent his childhood outdoors, where he perfected his street fighting technique. At the same time, the dance imposes it in the balls where it even becomes an expert in cha-cha-cha. It was not until 1959 that he returned to the United States.
He founded a kung-fu school there, Jeet Kune Do, where Steve McQueen, Lee Marvin and James Coburn came in turn. He landed the role of Kato in the TV series Le Frelon vert and applied in 1969 for the Kung-Fu series. “Too small and too yellow” for Warner, he had the role blown by David Carradine.
Bruce Lee will only take his revenge with the Hong Kong films that made his legend of Big Boss at The fist of Fury Passing by Return of the Dragon… He died mysteriously at the age of 32, on July 20, 1973.
“Accepted as neither fully American nor fully Chinese, Bruce Lee was a bridge between East and West who brought Chinese kung fu to the world, a combat scientist, and an iconic stage performer. who revolutionized both martial arts and action cinemaAng Lee told Deadline. I feel compelled to tell the story of this brilliant, unique human being who yearned to belong, possessed enormous power for a 135-pound build, and who, through hard work, turned impossible dreams into reality.»