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Thread: Bruce Lee's Warrior

  1. #1
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    Bruce Lee's Warrior

    Oooooh Justin Lin....

    This is not to be confused with the upcoming Warrior-on-NBC

    Cinemax Developing Bruce Lee-Inspired Crime Drama ‘Warrior’ From Justin Lin
    by Nellie Andreeva
    May 21, 2015 9:15am


    Justin Lin Bruce Lee

    А passion project for martial arts icon Bruce Lee and Fast & Furious director Justin Lin is headed to the small screen with a deal at Cinemax. The premium cable network has put in development drama series Warrior, inspired by writings of the Enter The Dragon actor. Lin is set to direct the potential pilot, written by Jonathan Tropper, co-creator of Banshee, Cinemax’s first homegrown hit from its current foray into primetime drama programming.

    Warrior is described as a visceral crime drama that traces the path of a gifted but morally corrupt fighter thrown into crisis after a Cinemaxlifelong quest for vengeance is undermined. It was the first project for the TV division of Perfect Storm Entertainment, Lin’s joint venture with Bruno Wu’s Seven Stars Studios. A couple of months after the launch of PSE’s TV operation in 2013, the company partnered with Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee, and Bruce Lee Enterprises to develop Lee’s material into TV series.

    Warrior had been a passion project that Bruce Lee spent many years working on, but was never published or produced. Years after Lee’s sudden 1973 death at age 32, his daughter found a large collection of handwritten notes that Bruce wrote himself on the concept for the series that became the inspiration for the show. Perfect Storm Entertainment and Shannon Lee then brought the idea to Cinemax, with Tropper coming on board as writer/executive producer.

    Also executive producing are Perfect Storm’s Lin, president Troy Craig Poon and head of TV Danielle Woodrow as well as Shannon Lee of Bruce Lee Enterprises.

    In addition to his legacy as a martial arts and action star, Lee had strong writing interests and penned philosophy pieces as well as poetry.

    Lin is already in business with Cinemax sibling HBO, directing the first two episodes of True Detective‘s second season. In TV, he also directed the pilot and serves as executive producer on the breakout CBS drama Scorpion. On the feature side, in addition to helming the blockbuster Fast & Furious franchise, Lin also is attached to direct the third Star Trek movie. He is repped by CAA, manager Dana O’Keefe of Cinetic Media and attorney John Sloss.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  2. #2
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    Cinemax orders pilot

    Bruce Lee-Inspired Crime Drama ‘Warrior’ From Justin Lin & ‘Banshee’ Co-Creator Gets Cinemax Pilot Order
    by Nellie Andreeva
    August 30, 2016 9:30am


    Justin Lin Jonathan Tropper

    EXCLUSIVE: Cinemax has given a pilot order to Warrior, a crime drama based on original material written by Bruce Lee. Warrior has been a passion project for both the late martial arts icon and Fast & Furious helmer Justin Lin who is executive producing the pilot with an eye to direct. The pilot was written by Jonathan Tropper, co-creator of Banshee, Cinemax’s first homegrown primetime drama hit.

    Set against the backdrop of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the aftermath of the Civil War, Warrior tells the story of a young martial arts prodigy, newly arrived from China, who finds himself caught up in the bloody Chinatown Tong wars.



    Warrior was the first project put in development by the TV division of Perfect Storm Entertainment, Lin’s joint venture with Bruno Wu’s Seven Stars Studios. A couple of months after the launch of PSE’s TV operation in 2013, the company partnered with Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee, and Bruce Lee Enterprises to turn Lee’s material into a TV series.


    Shutterstock

    Bruce Lee had spent many years working on Warrior, but it was never published or produced. Years after the Enter The Dragon actor’s sudden 1973 death at age 32, his daughter found a large collection of handwritten notes that Bruce wrote himself on the concept for the series that became the inspiration for the show. Perfect Storm Entertainment and Shannon Lee brought the idea to Cinemax in spring 2015, with Tropper coming on board as writer/executive producer.

    Also executive producing are Perfect Storm’s Lin, president Troy Craig Poon and head of TV Danielle Woodrow as well as Shannon Lee of Bruce Lee Enterprises. The pilot is being produced for Cinemax by Perfect Storm Entertainment, Tropper Ink and Bruce Lee Entertainment.

    In addition to his legacy as a martial arts and action star, Lee had strong writing interests and penned philosophy pieces as well as poetry.

    Lin is already in business with Cinemax sibling HBO, directing the first two episodes of True Detective‘s second season. In TV, he also directed the pilot and serves as executive producer on the breakout CBS drama Scorpion. On the feature side, in addition to helming the blockbuster Fast & Furious franchise, Lin also recently directed Star Trek Beyond. He is repped by CAA, manager Dana O’Keefe of Cinetic Media and attorney John Sloss.
    Man, Bruce is coming around again in a big way right now, what with Birth of the Dragon, Striking Thoughts and A Challenge.
    Gene Ching
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  3. #3
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    10 eps for Cinemax

    Bruce Lee-Inspired Tong Wars Drama ‘Warrior’ From Justin Lin & ‘Banshee’ Co-Creator Gets Cinemax Series Order
    by Nellie Andreeva • tip
    June 7, 2017 9:30am


    Courtesy of HBO

    EXCLUSIVE: Cinemax has given a 10-episode straight-to-series order to 19th century crime drama Warrior, inspired by an idea from Bruce Lee, created and executive produced by Banshee co-creator Jonathan Tropper and executive producer by Justin Lin and Danielle Woodrow via Perfect Storm Entertainment, and Shannon Lee for Bruce Lee Entertainment.

    Warrior, which had been a passion project for both late martial arts icon Bruce Lee and Fast & Furious helmer Justin Lin, was originally set up at Cinemax for development in 2015 and was ordered to pilot last summer.

    Last December, Deadline unveiled Cinemax’s programming strategy shift toward the type of fare that launched the network’s push into original primetime series: fun, high-octane, action, pulpy, straight-to-series dramas done in a cost-effective way primarily as international co-productions. At the time, Kary Antholis, president, HBO Miniseries and Cinemax Programming, revealed that the idea was to do as many as four shows a year initially, three of them co-productions or very cost-effective and the fourth a marquee, homegrown show with a Banshee-level of budget. Back then, Warrior was already being eyed for a potential straight-to-series order to fill that marquee spot in the inaugural slate of the revamped Cinemax. Straight-to-series co-productions greenlighted under the model include a Strike Back reboot and Rellik.

    “Warrior follows in the spirit of the tradition of adrenalized Cinemax dramas that we established with Strike Back and Banshee,” said Antholis, listing the network’s two most successful original series to date. “We are brimming with excitement for this unique martial arts series combining Bruce Lee’s inspired conception with the immense storytelling talents of Jonathan Tropper and Justin Lin.”

    Warrior is described as a gritty, action-packed crime drama set during the brutal Tong Wars of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the second half of the 19th century. The series follows Ah Sahm, a martial arts prodigy who immigrates from China to San Francisco under mysterious circumstances, and becomes a hatchet man for one of Chinatown’s most powerful tongs (Chinese organized crime family).

    “As a show that proudly bears the imprimatur of Bruce Lee, it’s our intention to deliver not only explosive martial arts action – which we will – but also a powerful and complex immigration drama that is as relevant today as it was in the 1870s,” says Tropper.

    The Cinemax series order caps a four-year road to the screen for Warrior. It started in 2013 when Lin’s company partnered with Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee, and Bruce Lee Enterprises to turn Lee’s material into a TV series.


    Shutterstock

    Bruce Lee had spent many years working on Warrior, but it was never published or produced. Years after the Enter The Dragon actor’s sudden 1973 death at age 32, his daughter found a large collection of handwritten notes that Bruce wrote himself on the concept for the series that became the inspiration for the show.

    “I’ve always admired Bruce Lee for his trailblazing efforts opening doors for Asians in entertainment and beyond,” Lin said. “So I was intrigued when Danielle told me about the urban legend of his never-produced idea for a TV show and suggested we bring it to life. Then when Shannon shared with us her father’s writings: rich with Lee’s unique philosophies on life, and through a point of view rarely depicted on screen – Danielle and I knew that Perfect Storm had to make it.

    Partnering with Cinemax has led to a wonderful collaboration with Jonathan Tropper, who has created a fantastic series inspired by Lee’s writings. We are all honored to continue what he started.”

    Warrior is produced for Cinemax by Perfect Storm Entertainment, Tropper Ink Productions and Bruce Lee Entertainment. Production is set to begin this fall in Cape Town, South Africa.

    Warrior marks the third on-air series for Perfect Storm, which also has new CBS drama series S.W.A.T. and returning Scorpion.
    Well then, we'll see how this goes.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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    Cast list

    ‘Warrior’: Cinemax Sets Cast & Director For Bruce Lee-Inspired Martial Arts Series
    Deadline Deadline
    Nellie Andreeva
    22 hrs ago


    © Provided by Deadline

    Warrior,Cinemax’s upcoming Tong Wars drama series from Fast & Furious‘ Justin Lin and Banshee co-creator Jonathan Tropper, has assembled an international cast, led by British actor Andrew Koji, and has tapped Assaf Bernstein (Netflix’s Fauda) to direct the pilot. The 10-episode series, inspired by the writings and work of martial arts icon Bruce Lee, is slated to begin production on Oct. 22 in Cape Town, South Africa.

    Warrior — the first homegrown tentpole series under Cinemax’s new programming direction emphasizing fun, often adrenalized shows — is a period crime drama set against the backdrop of the brutal Tong Wars in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the late 1800s.

    The cast includes Andrew Koji as Ah Sahm, a martial arts prodigy who travels from China to San Francisco and ends up becoming a hatchet man for the most powerful tong in Chinatown; Olivia Cheng as Ah Toy, Chinatown’s most accomplished courtesan and madame; Jason Tobin as Young Jun, the hard-partying son of a powerful tong boss; Dianne Doan as Mai Ling, a beautiful and ruthless Chinese woman who, through sheer force of will, has achieved a position of power in one of the tongs; Kieran Bew as Officer “Big Bill” O’Hara, a hard-drinking Irish cop charged with forming a Chinatown squad; and Dean Jagger as Dan Leary, the unofficial godfather of the Irish community of San Francisco and leader of the Workingmen’s party.

    Also cast are Joanna Vanderham as Penelope Blake, the aristocratic heir to a railroad fortune trapped in a loveless marriage to the mayor; Tom Weston-Jones as Richard Lee, a transplanted Southerner and rookie cop; Banshee and Outcast‘s Hoon Lee as Wang Chao, a wiley fixer and profiteer in Chinatown; Joe Taslim as Li Yong, a tong Lieutenant and kung fu master; Langley Kirkwood as Walter Buckley, a Civil War veteran and Deputy Mayor with his own political aspirations; Christian McKay as Mayor Samuel Blake, the Mayor of San Francisco; and Perry Yung as Father Jun, the leader of the most powerful tong in Chinatown.

    “As Warrior comes together, I can’t help but feel the pride of correcting a wrong and helping bring Bruce Lee’s dream project to life,” Lin said. “We have assembled a cast of incredible actors from all over the world including our talented lead, Andrew Koji, an exciting discovery out of the UK. I’m also thrilled to be re-teaming with Joe Taslim and Jason Tobin.”

    Taslim and Tobin previously co-starred in two of the Lin-directed Fast & Furious movies: Fast & Furious 6 (Taslim) and The Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift (Tobin).

    Tropper wrote the pilot script based on original material written by Bruce Lee. He is executive producing via his Tropper Ink Prods. alongside Lin and Danielle Woodrow of Perfect Storm Entertainment and Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee via Bruce Lee Entertainment.

    Kary Antholis, president, HBO Miniseries and Cinemax Programming, called Warrior “one of the most exciting pilots I’d read in a very long time. It is perfectly on brand with what Cinemax wants to do going forward — high-end action-packed drama with great characters. It is unlike anything you’ve seen on episodic television ever.” Asked to elaborate, Antholis said that “the combination of a fun martial-arts show, which leans into Asian characters that are developed with great depth is a very unique combination in my experience with the TV landscape.”

    Added Lin, “The martial arts genre a lot of times has been relegated to B-level action. And that’s not something we wanted to do. Going off of Bruce Lee’s original material, we wanted to build something that is character-driven, that has important themes and that also takes place in a part of American history that rarely gets talked about. That to me makes it something you haven’t seen before.”

    While there haven’t been TV series about the infamous Chinese mob wars over the opium, prostitution, and gambling trades, there are now two in the works. Amazon recently gave a straight-to-series order to Tong Wars, from filmmaker Wong Kar-wai and writer Paul Attanasio, also set against the Tong Wars of 19th century San Francisco.

    Warrior pre-dates Tong Wars — it was first set up at Cinemax for development in May 2015. I hear Tong Wars was taken to HBO/Cinemax, which declined to read the script as the Warrior pilot already had been written. The rival project was then quickly shopped and sold to Amazon. Warrior is far ahead, with filming starting next week. I also hear the two shows are quite different in tone, with Tong Wars more of a traditional premium TV drama, and Warrior more in the vein of Banshee, an entertaining genre show, which, like Bruce Lee’s movies, mixes martial arts and humor.

    Warrior has an interesting backstory that sheds light on the “correcting wrong” comment Lin made earlier.

    Lin recalled “growing up as an Asian American, and hearing the story behind Bruce Lee and the relationship to David Carradine’s Kung Fu.” For years, there had been rumblings that Lee had had a concept for a TV series — coincidentally (or not) called The Warrior, according to Lee’s widow Linda Lee Cadwell — that would’ve featured Lee as an Asian hero in the American West. The version of events that has been widely circulated (but never fully confirmed) is that the studios did not think viewers would embrace an Asian leading man, and Kung Fu was ultimately created with Carradine as the star.

    It was Lin’s producing partner Woodrow who asked him whether the Lee TV series pitch was real or an urban legend. To get an answer, the two reached out to Lee’s daughter Shannon, who confirmed that an 8-page treatment by Lee existed and showed it to them. “That’s how this project came to life,” Lin said. He added that Shannon Lee has boxes and boxes containing writings by her late father.

    When Lin, Woodrow and Lee pitched the idea for Warrior to HBO/Cinemax, “we talked about the aspirations of combining really well developed characters with an action-oriented show,” Antholis said. “We had the idea of bringing in Jonathan Tropper based on the work he did on Banshee not knowing that he is a black belt in karate and idolized Bruce Lee as a kid. He fit right in.”

    How much of Lee’s original treatment made it into Warrior? “It’s our job to find the essence of what he was trying to say,” Lin said. “The character of Sahm, a lot of the stuff is based off what Bruce Lee wanted way back when he came up with the idea.”

    Lin says that one of his “heartaches” was that his schedule did not allow him to direct the Warrior pilot episode. “It was very important to Kary, to Jonathan and me that we find a filmmaker, someone that comes and develops everything with character-first,” he said. “We are so fortunate to have Assaf Bernstein, a director who will capture the most intimate and textured performances amidst the action-packed backdrop of our series.” Bernstein also executive produces.

    Lin, who will be on set for most of the pilot, called the sets for the show “phenomenal, some of the biggest sets I’ve been involved with.”

    No premiere date for Warrior has been set, but it’s expected to launch in late 2018/early 2019.

    Bernstein recently wrapped film Look Away, starring Jason Isaacs, Mira Sorvino and India Eisley. He is repped by WME, Primary Wave and Reder & Feig.
    Don't know Koji. But Olivia Cheng we know.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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    The first homegrown tentpole series under Cinemax

    ‘Warrior’: Cinemax Sets Cast & Director For Bruce Lee-Inspired Martial Arts Series
    by Nellie Andreeva
    October 11, 2017 11:30am


    Courtesy of Cinemax

    Warrior, Cinemax’s upcoming Tong Wars drama series from Fast & Furious‘ Justin Lin and Banshee co-creator Jonathan Tropper, has assembled an international cast, led by British actor Andrew Koji, and has tapped Assaf Bernstein (Netflix’s Fauda) to direct the pilot. The 10-episode series, inspired by the writings and work of martial arts icon Bruce Lee, is slated to begin production on Oct. 22 in Cape Town, South Africa.

    Warrior — the first homegrown tentpole series under Cinemax’s new programming direction emphasizing fun, often adrenalized shows — is a period crime drama set against the backdrop of the brutal Tong Wars in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the late 1800s.



    The cast includes Andrew Koji as Ah Sahm, a martial arts prodigy who travels from China to San Francisco and ends up becoming a hatchet man for the most powerful tong in Chinatown; Olivia Cheng as Ah Toy, Chinatown’s most accomplished courtesan and madame; Jason Tobin as Young Jun, the hard-partying son of a powerful tong boss; Dianne Doan as Mai Ling, a beautiful and ruthless Chinese woman who, through sheer force of will, has achieved a position of power in one of the tongs; Kieran Bew as Officer “Big Bill” O’Hara, a hard-drinking Irish cop charged with forming a Chinatown squad; and Dean Jagger as Dan Leary, the unofficial godfather of the Irish community of San Francisco and leader of the Workingmen’s party.



    Also cast are Joanna Vanderham as Penelope Blake, the aristocratic heir to a railroad fortune trapped in a loveless marriage to the mayor; Tom Weston-Jones as Richard Lee, a transplanted Southerner and rookie cop; Banshee and Outcast‘s Hoon Lee as Wang Chao, a wiley fixer and profiteer in Chinatown; Joe Taslim as Li Yong, a tong Lieutenant and kung fu master; Langley Kirkwood as Walter Buckley, a Civil War veteran and Deputy Mayor with his own political aspirations; Christian McKay as Mayor Samuel Blake, the Mayor of San Francisco; and Perry Yung as Father Jun, the leader of the most powerful tong in Chinatown.

    “As Warrior comes together, I can’t help but feel the pride of correcting a wrong and helping bring Bruce Lee’s dream project to life,” Lin said. “We have assembled a cast of incredible actors from all over the world including our talented lead, Andrew Koji, an exciting discovery out of the UK. I’m also thrilled to be re-teaming with Joe Taslim and Jason Tobin.”

    Taslim and Tobin previously co-starred in two of the Lin-directed Fast & Furious movies: Fast & Furious 6 (Taslim) and The Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift (Tobin).



    Tropper wrote the pilot script based on original material written by Bruce Lee. He is executive producing via his Tropper Ink Prods. alongside Lin and Danielle Woodrow of Perfect Storm Entertainment and Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee via Bruce Lee Entertainment.

    Kary Antholis, president, HBO Miniseries and Cinemax Programming, called Warrior “one of the most exciting pilots I’d read in a very long time. It is perfectly on brand with what Cinemax wants to do going forward — high-end action-packed drama with great characters. It is unlike anything you’ve seen on episodic television ever.” Asked to elaborate, Antholis said that “the combination of a fun martial-arts show, which leans into Asian characters that are developed with great depth is a very unique combination in my experience with the TV landscape.”

    Added Lin, “The martial arts genre a lot of times has been relegated to B-level action. And that’s not something we wanted to do. Going off of Bruce Lee’s original material, we wanted to build something that is character-driven, that has important themes and that also takes place in a part of American history that rarely gets talked about. That to me makes it something you haven’t seen before.”

    While there haven’t been TV series about the infamous Chinese mob wars over the opium, prostitution, and gambling trades, there are now two in the works. Amazon recently gave a straight-to-series order to Tong Wars, from filmmaker Wong Kar-wai and writer Paul Attanasio, also set against the Tong Wars of 19th century San Francisco.

    Warrior pre-dates Tong Wars — it was first set up at Cinemax for development in May 2015. I hear Tong Wars was taken to HBO/Cinemax, which declined to read the script as the Warrior pilot already had been written. The rival project was then quickly shopped and sold to Amazon. Warrior is far ahead, with filming starting next week. I also hear the two shows are quite different in tone, with Tong Wars more of a traditional premium TV drama, and Warrior more in the vein of Banshee, an entertaining genre show, which, like Bruce Lee’s movies, mixes martial arts and humor.

    Warrior has an interesting backstory that sheds light on the “correcting wrong” comment Lin made earlier.

    Lin recalled “growing up as an Asian American, and hearing the story behind Bruce Lee and the relationship to David Carradine’s Kung Fu.” For years, there had been rumblings that Lee had had a concept for a TV series — coincidentally (or not) called The Warrior, according to Lee’s widow Linda Lee Cadwell — that would’ve featured Lee as an Asian hero in the American West. The version of events that has been widely circulated (but never fully confirmed) is that the studios did not think viewers would embrace an Asian leading man, and Kung Fu was ultimately created with Carradine as the star.



    It was Lin’s producing partner Woodrow who asked him whether the Lee TV series pitch was real or an urban legend. To get an answer, the two reached out to Lee’s daughter Shannon, who confirmed that an 8-page treatment by Lee existed and showed it to them. “That’s how this project came to life,” Lin said. He added that Shannon Lee has boxes and boxes containing writings by her late father.

    When Lin, Woodrow and Lee pitched the idea for Warrior to HBO/Cinemax, “we talked about the aspirations of combining really well developed characters with an action-oriented show,” Antholis said. “We had the idea of bringing in Jonathan Tropper based on the work he did on Banshee not knowing that he is a black belt in karate and idolized Bruce Lee as a kid. He fit right in.”

    How much of Lee’s original treatment made it into Warrior? “It’s our job to find the essence of what he was trying to say,” Lin said. “The character of Sahm, a lot of the stuff is based off what Bruce Lee wanted way back when he came up with the idea.”



    Lin says that one of his “heartaches” was that his schedule did not allow him to direct the Warrior pilot episode. “It was very important to Kary, to Jonathan and me that we find a filmmaker, someone that comes and develops everything with character-first,” he said. “We are so fortunate to have Assaf Bernstein, a director who will capture the most intimate and textured performances amidst the action-packed backdrop of our series.” Bernstein also executive produces.

    Lin, who will be on set for most of the pilot, called the sets for the show “phenomenal, some of the biggest sets I’ve been involved with.”

    No premiere date for Warrior has been set, but it’s expected to launch in late 2018/early 2019.

    Bernstein recently wrapped film Look Away, starring Jason Isaacs, Mira Sorvino and India Eisley. He is repped by WME, Primary Wave and Reder & Feig.
    Jun as in Jun Fan. Ohara is kinda funny - I hope that was an intentional shout out to ETD.
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    Warrior | Official Tease | Cinemax

    Gene Ching
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    Warrior - Season 1 (2019) | Official Tease 2 | Cinemax

    Gene Ching
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    first images

    Justin Lin talks bringing Bruce Lee's passion project to life in Warrior first look photos


    Cinemax/HBO
    SHIRLEY LI
    February 08, 2019 at 01:00 PM EST

    In 1971, Bruce Lee pitched a series called The Warrior, in which he would star as a martial artist navigating the Old West, but studios passed, unable to envision a show around an Asian lead. The next year, Warner Bros. aired a series called Kung Fu, starring white actor David Carradine as an Asian martial artist in the Old West — a premise that raised eyebrows, though the studio denied it had anything to do with Lee’s concept.

    Director Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow, the Fast and Furious franchise) remembers being 8 years old when he first saw Kung Fu and couldn’t understand why Carradine was in the role. “I was confused,” he tells EW. “I didn’t know why he was speaking in broken English.”

    When he learned that Lee originally had an idea just like Kung Fu, he knew he had to bring it to screen — and to do it with an un-whitewashed cast that would honor Lee’s story. Lin teamed up with Lee’s daughter, Shannon, who “brought eight pages of the original notes from Bruce,” he says, and together they brought those pages to small-screen life.

    The result is Cinemax’s new series Warrior, a drama EW can exclusively reveal will debut on April 5. The show stars Andrew Koji (The Innocents) as a martial arts prodigy who departs China for San Francisco in the late 1800s on a mission, only to get entangled in Chinatown’s brutal Tong Wars. (Lin and Shannon Lee serve as executive producers.)

    Making Warrior happen wasn’t easy; in fact, Lin admits, finding an Asian lead and rounding out the cast with Asian actors like Jason Tobin (Better Luck Tomorrow) and Olivia Cheng (Arrow) was “still very difficult.” “Casting directors, when they read ‘Asian-American,’ kind of go to the same pool,” he explains. “It was important to us to find a casting director that would really be open to us going around the world [for the search]. It took a while…I think there wasn’t any rocks left unturned, and I think that’s the right way [to do it].”

    Plus, the team needed to make Lee’s story, now nearly 50 years old, resonate with modern audiences. That meant tweaking Lee’s ideas while retaining his core characters and themes. “There were a lot of changes in pacing, in how we were going to explore certain issues,” Lin says. “[We were] trying to honor the essence of what he was doing, but at the same time, cinema and TV and storytelling have really evolved.”

    Lin, obviously, has had a front seat to that evolution. He’s been busy recently — he’s set to return for the next installments in The Fast and Furious franchise, is reportedly moving forward with Space Jam 2, and has an overall deal with Apple to develop TV — but to him, Warrior means more than just getting another project off the ground. “I’ve been fortunate to be able to try everything,” he says. “But I have to say Warrior has been my pride and joy.”

    EW can share four first look images from Warrior above and below:


    Cinemax/HBO


    Cinemax/HBO


    Cinemax/HBO
    Warrior hits Cinemax on April 5.
    I'm really curious about those original 8 pages. I've heard rumors from those who claim to have seen them.
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    Warrior - Season 1 (2019) | Official Tease 3 - Survive | Cinemax

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    April 5 is this Friday



    Anyone going to tune in?

    I don't have Cinemax and they didn't send me a screener.
    Gene Ching
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    Just saw the first episode. I am curious about Andrew Koj's training routine and more about the styles of martial arts used in the show .

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    How was it, j.ouellet23? I don't have cinemax.

    Quote Originally Posted by j.ouellet23 View Post
    Just saw the first episode. I am curious about Andrew Koj's training routine and more about the styles of martial arts used in the show .
    You mean Koji. Here's an interview:

    April 2, 10:00 am
    Andrew Koji Talks Cinemax's New Martial Arts Series WARRIOR

    Timothy Tau
    CONTRIBUTOR



    Recently I discussed Cinemax's Warrior with Andrew Koji, who stars as the main character Ah Sahm in the show. The series premieres April 5th on Cinemax; it is based on the writings of Bruce Lee and is officially sanctioned by Shannon Lee (one of the Executive Producers) and Bruce Lee Enterprises.

    I understand that you are from the UK and are also a writer in addition to being an actor. How long have you been an actor/writer, how did you get started, and were you working on projects in the US or the UK or a combination of both before WARRIOR? How has your mixed Japanese and English heritage influenced your career as well?

    It was always my ambition and intention to act and make my own films. I started making films when I was a teen and started doing extra work and small stage jobs. At 18 I moved to Thailand as they were making a lot of films there and I was still training in martial arts so I did some small jobs there.

    Then I moved to Japan and ended up working in front and behind the camera for a while before I decided to come back to London to train as an actor. I trained at a small studio school, the Actors' Temple in London, and have over time started getting more jobs in theatre and TV. So far I haven't worked in the US. In the UK I would say my dual heritage has not particularly been advantageous. Opportunities for East Asian actors at the time was and still is quite limited - although things are changing.

    How did you first get involved with WARRIOR, and how did you eventually get cast as the lead character Ah Sahm?

    It was the usual route. Although at the time, I had just finished a very tough theatre job and hadn't done any TV in a while. I was about to turn 30 and was seriously considering a change in career. My agent and my mother convinced me to submit a self-tape for the role.

    Shortly after doing that I was invited to LA and cast with Alexa Fogel, a great casting director and now friend. They were looking for an actor who could also do some martial arts and there were a few of us under consideration. I didn't think it would go my way but something just clicked when the audition happened

    After getting cast as Ah Sahm, how did you prepare for the role? Did you do your own analysis/examination of Bruce Lee's writings and work? How also did you approach a role, acting-wise, that you knew Bruce Lee essentially wrote for himself?

    I actually didn't grow up with Bruce Lee as an influence, unlike quite a few of my friends. Both in the run up to the LA audition and after being cast I read up, watched and researched as much as I could about him and wish I'd known more about him earlier as he is such an icon.

    While in LA I had the privilege of meeting his daughter, Shannon Lee, who provided some valuable insights. My preparation for the role was pretty comprehensive - apart from research into Bruce Lee, it involved nutrition, fitness, martial arts training etc. Acting-wise I can only bring my own performance - which is the same for any actor taking on a role already written for or performed by someone else.

    His saying 'have faith in yourself, do not go out and find a successful personality and duplicate it' resonated with me, that I needed to make Ah Sahm my own. The directors and Jonathan Tropper helped me find the way too.

    The fighting scenes (at least from the trailer) seem extremely polished and dynamic, and the amount of training you underwent for the role clearly shows. Can you specifically describe the martial arts training you did? Do you have a prior martial arts background? Did you also incorporate any of Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do concepts or martial arts philosophies? Did you do any research into Wing Chun or any other forms?

    Thank you. As a kid I did quite a lot of martial arts. I was also interested in gymnastics and learned to tumble, do backflips etc. I stopped all that by the time I was about 20 because I preferred to concentrate on acting and making my own films.

    When this role came along I was reasonably fit but totally out of practice regarding martial arts. Obviously I wanted to get as fit and as skilled as possible in the few months before filming. I made my own exercise/training regime while taking classes from expert martial artists in London and guidance from Brett Chan, the stunt co-ordinator. Training involved Wing Chun with a great teacher, Jack Kontou, as well as Shaolin Kung Fu and kickboxing.

    Without spoiling anything, how would you describe the character of Ah Sahm and his storyline, especially with respect to the other characters from the show, such as Young Jun, played by Jason Tobin; Ah Toy, played by Olivia Cheng; Father Jun played by Perry Yun; Li Yong played by Joe Taslim; Bill O'Hara played by Kieran Bew and others? Are there any particular character relationships we should pay attention to as the show progresses?

    All I can say here is that Ah Sahm, a recent arrival from mainland China, has to find his way in the new world of America and the Chinatown of San Francisco in the 1880's. He has to find his niche but it often seems like it finds him. It is also a steep learning curve for him.

    His interactions with the other characters depend on his perceived 'status' - new kid on the block, exceptional fighter, family member, lover etc. As in any good story, the relationships develop and change with events over time. You'll see how things twist and turn as the series continues.

    But there are other angles too, such as Bill O'Hara and Dylan Leary's stories (brilliantly played by Kieran Bew and Dean Jagger respectively), which have their own dynamic and add a further dimension of interest.

    What are your thoughts on the writing of the show, and also the involvement of Jonathan Tropper as the creator? Was there a vision for Warrior that the whole cast and crew intended to convey before and during shooting?

    I've got to know Jonathan over the course of the year and in my opinion he's brilliant and an amazing human being. He is the ideal person to be working on this series as, quite apart from his creative talent, he has long been a serious admirer of Bruce Lee and his achievements. He is also a great collaborator and before filming he shared his vision and passion for the series with all of us.

    Can you describe the process of working with Justin Lin? What episodes did he direct? Did he also have an overall vision for WARRIOR as Executive Producer and did he share showrunning duties with Jonathan? Also, other listed directors include Kevin Tancharoen and Lin Oeding; what was working with them like?

    Justin Lin keeps his finger on the pulse of most aspects of Warrior. I have found him really supportive and encouraging and I'm very happy to be working with him on the show. Changing directors for different episodes can sometimes be challenging for the cast as you have to quickly adjust to a different energy and different ways of working. Having said that, most of us really enjoy that challenge and appreciate how it spices things up for the benefit of the show as a whole.

    What do you think makes WARRIOR unique, story-telling wise, acting-wise, action-wise, compared to what has been done before? Also, what are you feelings involving being able to bring to life something that Bruce Lee wrote, and having Shannon Lee and BLE (Bruce Lee Enterprises) officially involved and on board?

    I do think Warrior has a unique blend of elements. The action scenes are stylized, brutal and visceral in places but all varied, high energy and fun to shoot. We wanted to keep the fight scenes raw and grounded, with no wire work.

    The set of San Francisco's Chinatown at the end of the 19th century is amazingly realistic and historical facts and attitudes are there in broad brush strokes as well as some finer detail - but obviously there is a lot of poetic licence and creativity around that. The series is based on Bruce Lee's ideas - he didn't leave a full script.

    We all feel privileged to be working on it and everyone wants to do justice to his legacy. We know we won't please everyone but we feel we have done him proud and Shannon Lee is with us all the way.

    What are you working on next? Are you currently shooting the next season of WARRIOR as well? Did Cinemax pre-order multiple seasons or were they impressed with the first season to the point of green-lighting more episodes? Do you have any non-WARRIOR related projects in the pipeline?

    After the season ended, I did some TV work in Canada and the UK. I want to keep stretching myself as an actor and do things outside the action genre. I'm working on something right now, which I'm not allowed to disclose yet!
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  13. #13
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    Awesome! Thanks for the link!

  14. #14
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    ‘Warrior’ Renewed For Season 2 By Cinemax
    By Nellie Andreeva
    April 24, 2019 9:00am



    EXCLUSIVE: Three episodes into Warrior‘s freshman run, Cinemax has given an official second-season renewal to the Tong Wars drama series from Justin Lin and Banshee co-creator Jonathan Tropper.

    Created by Tropper, based on the writings of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, Warrior is the first internally developed Cinemax series under its new programming direction for fun, adrenalized fare. The cable network currently airs about four original series a year, three of them co-productions (or very cost-effective) and one marquee homegrown show with a Banshee-size budget tailored to the Cinemax audiences, the category Warrior falls in.

    Warrior’s renewal had been in the works for months, and pre-production on Season 2 started in South Africa in late 2018-early 2019.

    Warrior is a gritty, action-packed crime drama set during the brutal Tong Wars of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the second half of the 19th century. The series follows Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji), a martial arts prodigy who emigrates from China to San Francisco under mysterious circumstances. After proving his worth as a fighter, Ah Sahm becomes a hatchet man for the Hope Wei, one of Chinatown’s most powerful organized crime families, or tongs.

    “Bruce Lee’s vision is alive and well,” said Len Amato, president of HBO Films, Miniseries and Cinemax Programming. “Warrior combines high-energy martial arts with wit and brains. We’re thrilled to renew such a great show for a second season on Cinemax.”



    Warrior is produced for Cinemax by Perfect Storm Entertainment, Tropper Ink Productions and Bruce Lee Entertainment. Season one is executive produced by Justin Lin and Danielle Woodrow executive produce on behalf of Perfect Storm Entertainment. Shannon Lee executive produces for Bruce Lee Entertainment. Brad Kane also executive produces and Richard Sharkey is co-executive producer. The pilot was directed and executive produced by Assaf Bernstein.
    Quote Originally Posted by j.ouellet23 View Post
    Awesome! Thanks for the link!
    My pleasure. So how is it? Still watching?
    Last edited by GeneChing; 04-24-2019 at 11:48 AM. Reason: Season 2 green lit
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  15. #15
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    First forum review

    The premiere episode is available on Cinemax's facebook page for now. Not sure how long that'll be there.

    I gotta give this a 'meh'. Corrupt Irish cops face off against Chinese Tong men. It's full of racial stereotypes, especially for Chinatown. The Irish are drunken brawlers and I guess my heritage is all peasants, tong men and wh0res. The martial arts is mediocre and that Tai Chi at the end is just winceable. It's Cinemax, a.k.a. Skinemax so there's plenty of nekkid chicks, mostly Asian prostitutes except for one Caucasian kinda prostitute. I was amused to see nekkid Olivia Cheng again (she was much better nekkid in Marco Polo). The dialogue is riddled with cussing, so much so that it's distracting, and what the heck is up with calling people 'onions'? Is that really a thing? Maybe I'll tune back in for the inevitable street-chase-scene-thru-a-lion-dance because that's such a hackneyed action sequence now for anything set in Chinatown. It's disappointing for Justin Lin. Maybe in Bruce's day this might have been groundbreaking, but now it just perpetuates stereotypes, which I imagine would be the last thing Bruce would want to do if he were still alive.

    I do like Koji though. He has a good smoldering look and can move well enough. I just wish he wasn't so bound by Bruce-derived choreography.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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