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Thread: Ang Lee's Bruce Lee biopic

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Ang Lee's Bruce Lee biopic

    Ang Lee Taps Son Mason Lee To Play Martial Arts Legend Bruce Lee In Epic At Sony’s 3000 Pictures

    By Mike Fleming Jr
    Co-Editor-in-Chief, Film

    November 30, 2022 10:11am

    (L-R) Bruce Lee and Mason Lee
    Everett/courtesy photo

    EXCLUSIVE: Sony’s 3000 Pictures has finalized a deal that will see Oscar winner Ang Lee direct Bruce Lee, a film that will star the filmmaker’s son Mason Lee in the role of the iconic martial artist. Dan Futterman, whose work includes Capote and Foxcatcher, is working on a script that has seen previous versions by Jean Castelli, Alex Law and Mabel Cheung, and, most recently, Wells Tower.

    Lawrence Grey, Shannon Lee, Ang Lee, Ben Everard and Brian Bell are producing, and Elizabeth Gabler and Marisa Paiva are overseeing the project for the studio. The project will see Gabler, Paiva and Tom Rothman reunited with the director after they worked together previously on Life of Pi.

    Ashley Pon/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

    The director, who left his stamp on the martial arts genre with Best Foreign Film Oscar winner Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000 (it remains the highest-grossing international film in the U.S.) has long wanted to delve into the making-of-a-legend tale. Lee came to the U.S. and became an accomplished teacher to actors like Steve McQueen and many others. He approached it like a scientist, mixing and matching the best qualities of all kinds of styles that he melded into Jeet Kune Do.

    While the handsome and affable Lee became one of the first Chinese-American actors to crack primetime television when he played the sidekick Kato in The Green Hornet, much of his early career was marked by the frustrations he endured as a trailblazer who was not content to be a sidekick. The setbacks included when white actor David Carradine was tapped to play the Chinese monk in Kung Fu over Lee in 1972 — said by some to have originated the concept — because TV execs felt audiences weren’t ready for a series led by an Asian actor. Lee found global success in a series of wildly successful Hong Kong films. He was on the cusp of a remarkable U.S. market breakthrough with Enter the Dragon, dying suddenly at 32 just before that film was released in 1973.

    “Accepted as neither fully American nor fully Chinese, Bruce Lee was a bridge between East and West who introduced Chinese Kung Fu to the world, a scientist of combat and an iconic performing artist who revolutionized both the martial arts and action cinema,” Ang Lee told Deadline. “I feel compelled to tell the story of this brilliant, unique human being who yearned for belonging, possessed tremendous power in a 135-pound-frame, and who, through tireless hard work, made impossible dreams into reality.”

    Lee has been working quietly on this for a long time, and that includes getting his son ready for action. Mason Lee has been training for this role in Asia the past three years, all through lockdown. Lee is 32, and he has appeared in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, The Hangover Part II, and most recently he starred in the Taiwanese romantic comedy Stand By Me, the Hong Kong drama Limbo and Who Killed Cock Robin (Mu Ji Zhe). He was nominated for the Golden Horse Award for Best Supporting Actor for both films.

    “Bruce Lee is a longtime passion project for Ang and a deeply emotional story depicting the triumphs and conflicts of one of the foremost real-life action heroes of our time,” Gabler said. “All of us at Sony and 3000 Pictures are proud to help Ang and his filmmaking team create what we believe will be an extraordinary theatrical event.”

    Ang Lee is repped by CAA and Schreck Rose Dapello Adams Berlin & Dunham. Futterman is repped by UTA and attorneys Frankfurt Kurnit. Grey Matter is represented by UTA and attorney Jamie Feldman at Lichter Grossman.
    I've not seen anything by Mason Lee. Anyone?
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    350 pages long

    Bruce Lee Biopic Producer Reveals Estimated Runtime — It Nearly Became a Limited Series
    "That script might have been something like 350 pages long, and we were seriously contemplating whether this could be a limited series."


    The upcoming Bruce Lee biopic faces the challenge of condensing his iconic life story into a two-and-a-half-hour movie, considering his martial arts legacy and numerous achievements.

    Producer Lawrence Grey reveals that the initial 350-page script was considered to be turned into a limited series, but they ultimately decided to focus on the cinematic experience and to recreate Bruce Lee's unique movements on the big screen.

    With Ang Lee set to direct and Mason Lee, playing the lead role, there is high anticipation for the biopic to be a potential masterpiece, honoring the legacy of the martial arts icon.

    The toughest thing for a director and screenwriter to do when making a biopic is to find key events in the subject’s life to make a compelling story without jumping between moments so that it feels too episodic. In an interview with Collider's Steve Weintraub at our TIFF media studio at the Cinema Center at MARBL, producer Lawrence Grey (Pain Hustlers) talked about finding that balance in the upcoming Bruce Lee biopic, whose production is in early stages with Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) set to direct.

    Bruce Lee is an iconic Hollywood figure whose domain of martial arts made him the go-to reference when it comes to action movies. Proficient in several martial arts to the point that he was able to create his own style, Lee is still referenced throughout the genre today, and he's even getting an homage in the anime treatment with the House of Lee series. So how do you cover his legacy, and how long should a movie on such an icon be? As Grey told our Editor-in-Chief Weintraub, they first had to decide what to trim down in a 350-page script, which initially they didn't want to cut anything from. He explained:

    “That script might have been something like 350 pages long, and we were seriously contemplating whether this could be a limited series. The reason we evolved away from it was Ang wanted to do something with the action, with being able to recreate the movements of Bruce Lee, which are so specific and unique to the movement of that man, the way that Michael Jackson dancing might be, or something like that. He didn't feel he could fully realize that on the small screen, so we knew we were in this medium, and had to then be very diligent about finding creative ways to tell a story that, yes, we would have loved to tell over many, many more hours. But right now, I think we're hovering at about two and a half.”

    Bruce Lee's Legacy is Larger Than Life

    Of course, it'll be an impressive feat to cover Bruce Lee's story in just two and a half hours — for comparison’s sake, the Ip Man franchise, which chronicles the story of Bruce Lee’s master Yip Wai-Shun (played by Donnie Yen in the movies), is gearing up to put out its fifth installment. Martial arts fans might not get as many hours worth of footage in the upcoming biopic, but with Ang Lee at the helm, there’s a good chance that this is a masterpiece in the making.

    Lee starred in a slate of famous titles including the Green Hornet TV series and Fist of Fury, but his most celebrated movie is Enter the Dragon, a 1973 action movie that became a massive hit and is one of the most influential martial arts movies ever made. It was also the final film that Lee starred in – the actor and martial arts expert died prematurely at 32 due to a fatal cerebral edema.

    While details are still slim on the upcoming biopic, we already know that Mason Lee will play the legendary figure in the story directed by his own father. Grey also suggested filming is on track to start as soon as the ongoing strikes come to an end. Stay tuned for Weintraub's full conversation with Grey and check out the rest of our coverage from TIFF 2023.

    Erick Massoto

    Erick Massoto is a Brazilian writer who's always loved film and TV and is obsessed with making lists. Started writing reviews when he was a teenager, so he has heard that he "hates every movie" for a long time now.
    There already is a Bruce Lee series - a 40 episode one...The-Legend-of-Bruce-Lee
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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