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Thread: Birth of the Dragon

  1. #1
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    Birth of the Dragon

    A new Bruce Lee biopic. The WJM duel again.
    Bruce Lee Biopic Draws ‘Adjustment Bureau’ Director (EXCLUSIVE)


    Jim Spellman/WireImage
    May 30, 2014 | 12:30PM PT
    Film Reporter
    Dave McNary
    Film Reporter @Variety_DMcNary

    “The Adjustment Bureau” director George Nolfi has come on board to helm Bruce Lee biopic “Birth of the Dragon” for Groundswell Productions and QED International.

    The film will be produced by QED topper Bill Block, Groundswell CEO Michael London, Janice Williams, Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen Rivele. Kelly Mullen of Groundswell exec produces.

    London told Variety that producers are aiming to begin shooting next spring.

    The film is inspired by the true story of Bruce Lee’s historic 1965 duel with Wong Jack Man, China’s most famous kung fu master at a time when San Francisco’s Chinatown was controlled by Hong Kong Triads. The story of the match is told from the perspective of Steve Macklin, a young disciple of Lee, who ultimately joins forces with Lee and Wong to battle a vicious band of Chinatown gangsters.

    The team of Wilkinson and Rivele, whose credits include “Nixon” and “Ali,” came on board last year to write the script.

    Lee began appearing in films in the early 1970s before passing away in 1973.

    QED is producing Bill Murray’s “Rock the Kasbah” and financed and produced Brad Pitt’s World War II actioner “Fury.” Groundswell productions include “Milk,” “The Visitor,” “Win Win” and “Very Good Girls.”

    Nolfi’s writing credits include “Ocean’s Twelve,” “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “Need for Speed” and “The Adjustment Bureau,” which he adapted from the Philip K. **** novel.

    Nolfi is also an executive producer on “Allegiance,” a drama about a young CIA analyst that received a series order earlier this month from NBC. Nolfi wrote and directed the pilot.

    He’s repped by WME.
    Gene Ching
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  2. #2
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    The project got bank

    Bruce Lee Film, ‘Birth of the Dragon’ Gets Financing
    By Clayton Davis on August 14, 2014@@AwardsCircuit



    Read the Press Release:
    (PR NewsChannel) / August 14, 2014 / LOS ANGELES

    Bliss Media Ltd. announced today that it is joining forces with QED International to co-finance and co-produce the upcoming Bruce Lee film, “Birth of the Dragon.”

    “We’re excited to work with QED International to bring this story to life,” said Wei Han, president of Bliss Media Ltd. “Bruce Lee was not only a worldwide phenomenon, he helped create and shape a whole new sub-genre of the action film: martial arts movies.”

    QED International, which is a leading independent motion picture production, financing and sales distribution company, has been behind A-list films such as: “Fury,” “That Awkward Moment,” “Elysium,” and “District 9.”

    Led by experienced industry leaders in finance, production and screenwriting, Bliss Media is dedicated to linking the Chinese Motion Picture Industry with the rest of the world.

    “Birth of the Dragon” is inspired by the true story of Bruce Lee’s legendary duel with China’s most famous kung fu master, Wong Jack Man, in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Told from the perspective of one of Lee’s disciples, the film then follows Lee as he takes on a vicious band of Chinatown gangsters.

    Utilizing real-life events and characters, the film blends fiction with reality to create an original story that breaks the mold of the traditional biopic.

    “Birth of the Dragon” will be directed by George Nolfi (“The Adjustment Bureau,” “Ocean’s Twelve,” “The Bourne Ultimatum”) from a script written by Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen Rivele (“Nixon,” “Ali”).

    For more information on Bliss Media, visit www.blissmedialtd.com.
    For more information on QED International, please visit http://www.qedintl.com/.

    About Bliss Media Ltd.: A fast growing international film corporation that is actively involved in film financing, production, acquisition, sales and distribution, Bliss Media has offices in Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The company is led by a team of experienced Hollywood industry players in top equity finance, production and screenwriting, including renowned producers who work exclusively on their dealings in China. Bliss Media is dedicated to pioneering a business model that links the booming Chinese Motion Picture Industry with the rest of the world.
    I wouldn't call Wong Jack Man 'China’s most famous kung fu master in San Francisco’s Chinatown' - maybe he is now because of the fight, but not back then.
    Gene Ching
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  3. #3
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    You could be the next Bruce Lee!



    Actor Search for Young Bruce Lee

    From the director of The Adjustment Bureau comes
    BIRTH OF THE DRAGON
    Produced by Groundswell Productions, the producers of The Illusionist, Milk and Sideways, and Kylin Films
    Written by the Oscar nominated writers of Nixon and Ali
    Casting By: Joanna Colbert and PoPing AuYoung

    In San Francisco in the 1960s, a legendary fight took place between Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man. It occurred in an abandoned warehouse before twelve witnesses, no two of whom could agree on what actually happened. But it changed the history of martial arts. This story is inspired by that fight.

    Submit Your Audition
    Follow these steps:
    Role : Bruce Lee - Search
    Download and read the audition taping instructions and scene / sides provided
    Read and follow the video uploading ( Mac and Windows instructions )
    Tape your video
    To submit:


    Cast It Talent FAQs
    Bruce Lee - Search
    Male. Age 20s - 30s. Young Bruce Lee. An experienced martial artist highly desired. Submit headshot and resumes for now, and a video example of martial arts skills.

    IT IS FREE TO SUBMIT THROUGH THIS PAGE.

    IF YOU ARE A TALENT REP AND WOULD LIKE TO SUBMIT MULTIPLE CLIENTS AT ONCE YOU MAY SET THEM UP YOURSELF OR INVITE YOUR ACTORS TO CREATE CAST IT PREMIUM ACCOUNTS AT WWW.CASTITTALENT.COM

    IF YOU ARE AN ACTOR AND WANT TO SEND
    A MORE DETAILED PACKAGE YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR A CAST IT TALENT
    PREMIUM ACCOUNT AT WWW.CASTITTALENT.COM
    I truly hope a forum member gets cast. Then again, I also truly hope a forum member cures cancer.
    Gene Ching
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  4. #4
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    But who plays Lee?

    They must know by now. Maybe it'll be ScarJo.

    HOLLYWOOD NORTH: Bruce Lee biopic begins filming in Vancouver next month
    Scott Brown, Vancouver Sun 09.14.2015


    Birth of the Dragon, a long talked-about Bruce Lee biopic, is scheduled to finally begin shooting next month at North Shore Studios.Handout / Files

    Birth of the Dragon, a long talked-about Bruce Lee biopic, is scheduled to finally begin shooting next month at North Shore Studios.

    The movie, which will be directed by George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau), has been in development limbo for 20 months. A lawsuit filed against Bill Block, one of the film's producers, may have played a part in the delay.

    The script, penned by the writing duo of Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen J. Rivele, whose credits include Ali, Nixon and the upcoming Tupac, is described as an "origin story." Instead of being a traditional biography, the movie will tell the story of Bruce Lee's most legendary fight.

    "A young, up-and-coming martial artist, Bruce Lee, challenges legendary kung fu master Wong Jack Man to a no-holds-barred fight in Northern California," reads the Internet Movie Database plot description.

    There is no word on who will play Lee.

    Production for Birth of the Dragon, which is scheduled to be a seven-week shoot, will begin Oct. 28.
    Gene Ching
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  5. #5
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    This is getting more interesting

    China, US collaborate on Bruce Lee biopic
    By Zhang Rui


    Pang Hong, CEO of Kylin Pictures, speaks at the U.S.-China Co-production Film Summit held in Los Angeles on Nov.2, 2015. [Photo courtesy of Kylin Pictures]

    A Chinese producer of the new Bruce Lee biopic said they will retell Lee's story in an international perspective at a U.S.-China film summit held in Los Angeles on Monday.

    "As an internationally well-known Chinese Kung Fu star, Bruce Lee had a legendary life and starred in legendary works," said Pang Hong, CEO of Kylin Pictures, at the U.S.-China Co-production Film Summit, "We are expecting to show Lee's legend from an international perspective no matter what is going on in terms of production team selection or the storyline itself."

    "The Adjustment Bureau" director George Nolfi has signed on to direct the biopic. He came to China for early preparations at end of October to research locations, including Lee's ancestors' home in Shunde, Guangdong Province, and study Chinese martial arts of a variety of styles, especially Lee's master Yip Man and his Wing Chun style.

    Nolfi learned a lot about Lee and the environment he once lived in, as well as Chinese Kung Fu, in terms of actual combat techniques and philosophy, during his China trip.

    Kylin Pictures will collaborate with Groundswell Productions and QED International to produce the film. It was reported that the story is inspired by the true story of Bruce Lee's historic 1965 duel with Wong Jack Man, China’s most famous Kung Fu master at the time when San Francisco's Chinatown was controlled by Hong Kong Triads. The film will also tell the story of Lee's life before he became an international Kung Fu megastar.

    Nolfi's writing credits include "Ocean's Twelve," "The Bourne Ultimatum," "Need for Speed" and "The Adjustment Bureau." However, the Lee biopic script is being written by Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen J. Rivele.

    Shooting Lee's biopic is also a learning process for Chinese filmmakers, Pang said.

    "Though China may soon surpass the North American film market and become the biggest in the world, Chinese films are still a small part of the world market," Pang said, "We have to take care of our own business while we share a piece of the global film market."

    Pang said investing in Hollywood projects is not just investing money, but also a chance to get Chinese involved and learn from the veteran Hollywood film industry. "We can then tell the Chinese story to the world by using the industry’s mature techniques," he said.

    The film is expected to begin shooting next spring. Chinese actors Jin Xing, Xia Yu and a collection of Chinese martial arts masters will star in the film.


    Director George Nolfi sits in Bruce Lee's old house in Shunde, Guangdong Province during his four-day China trip to research relevant history and locations on Nov. 1, 2015. [Photo courtesy of Kylin Pictures]


    Director George Nolfi learns Kung Fu techniques from Taichi Kung Fu master Wang Xi'an in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province during his four-day China trip to research relevant history and locations on Oct. 29, 2015. [Photo courtesy of Kylin Pictures]
    Tai Chi. No disrespect to GM Wang, but Bruce had no love lost for Tai Chi.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Tai Chi. No disrespect to GM Wang, but Bruce had no love lost for Tai Chi.
    I hope they do as good a job as Rick Wing did with his fine book- Showdown in Oakland.

  7. #7
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    Just got this press release

    FILMING TO BEGIN ON GROUNDSWELL PRODUCTIONS’ “BIRTH OF THE DRAGON”
    George Nolfi to Direct a Script by Academy Award nominees Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen J. Rivele.
    Film Centers around Legendary Fight that Launched Bruce Lee to Martial Arts Stardom; Academy Award nominee Michael London producing through his Groundswell banner.

    LOS ANGELES, CA (November 16, 2015) -- Principal photography begins on November 17 in Vancouver, British Columbia, of Groundswell Productions’ BIRTH OF THE DRAGON. George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau) will direct the martial arts action tale, which tells the story behind the legendary 1960s fight between Shaolin Master Wong Jack Man and the young Bruce Lee.

    The international cast is headed by Tony Award nominee Billy Magnussen (Into the Woods, Bridge of Spies and the FX pilot Snowfall) as Steve McKee. The film recreates the mid-1960’s fight between Lee and Wong from the point of view of a young martial arts student whose allegiance became torn between Lee and Wong Jack Man. To this day, people still argue about who won the famous fight, but one thing is certain: after his battle with Wong, Bruce Lee reinvented himself and his style of kung fu.

    Mainland Chinese actor Yu Xia (In the Heat of the Sun, The Painted Veil) will play Wong Jack Man. The 75-year-old Wong, who remained silent about the fight for many years, currently lives in the Bay Area, and retired from teaching martial arts in 2005 after 45 years.

    Hong Kong-born Philip Ng (Once Upon A Time in Shanghai, Vegas to Macau) will play Lee. Ng was raised in Chicago where his family owns a successful martial arts studio. In his early twenties, after obtaining a master’s degree in Arts Education from the University of Illinois, Ng changed his plans and returned to Hong Kong to pursue a career in martial arts films.

    Chinese actress Jinging Qu (Old Boys: The Way of the Dragon, Journey Through China) plays Magnussen’s love interest, Xiulan. The movie’s villain, a ruthless crime boss named Auntie Blossom, will be played by iconic Chinese artist, opinion leader and television host, Jin Xing.

    The script was written by Academy Award nominees Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen J. Rivele (Nixon, Ali, Ferrari).

    The film’s action sequences will be designed by renowned martial arts choreographer Corey Yuen, a graduate of the Peking Opera School. Yuen gained fame in American cinema beginning with the 1998 film Lethal Weapon 4, followed by the 2000 blockbuster X-Men and six of Jet Li’s American works, including Romeo Must Die and The Expendables.

    Financed by Kylin Films, BIRTH OF THE DRAGON is being produced by Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Michael London and his producing partner Janice Williams, along with Wilkinson, Rivele and Kylin’s James H. Pang. Leo Shi Young, David Nicksay and Nolfi are executive producers, and Helen Y. Zhong, Jaeson Ma and Joel Viertel (who is also editing the film) are co-producers. Kylin was represented in the financing transaction by Ed Labowitz of Alexander, Lawrence, Frumes & Labowitz, LLP, and Groundswell by David Boyle.


    “We’re thrilled to be telling one of the great untold stories in martial arts history, especially at this unique moment when China and Western audiences are opening up to each other as never before,” said London. “To work with a Chinese film company like Kylin on a story that has so much significance in China has been a wonderful collaboration, and, we hope, the first of many.”

    Said Nolfi, “BIRTH OF THE DRAGON is a rare opportunity to make an action film with rich characters based on real events and real people. It’s a story about people from the East and West transcending their differences to work together, which is obviously a very timely story.”

    #

    Groundswell Productions is an independent financing and production company founded by Academy Award nominated producer Michael London. Groundswell has produced 13 films since its inception, including MILK, THE INFORMANT!, WIN WIN and THE VISITOR. Its films have garnered nine Academy Award nominations. SIDEWAYS received numerous honors, including five Academy Award nominations and one Oscar, the Golden Globe for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy), the Spirit Award for Best Picture and the Palm Springs Film Festival award for Producer of the Year.

    Groundswell’s current releases include TRUMBO, starring Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, John Goodman, Louis CK, and Helen Mirren; and LOVE THE COOPERS, starring Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Marisa Tomei, Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde, Ed Helms and Anthony Mackie. Critically acclaimed THE FINAL GIRLS opened earlier this fall. Groundswell is in post-production on CONFIRMATION starring Kerry Washington and Wendell Pierce. Upcoming projects include DESIRED MOMENTS, the debut of acclaimed commercial and video filmmaker Tom Kuntz.

    On the television side, Groundswell is in production on the SyFy series MAGICIANS based on Lev Grossman’s bestselling book trilogy, which will premiere in January 2016. Additional TV projects include the FX pilot SNOWFALL, co-created and directed by John Singleton, and THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB. The half-hour tech comedy BETAS, Groundswell’s first foray into TV, aired on Amazon in 2014.


    Kylin Pictures is one of China's leading entertainment companies focused, on producing timeless IP for the global film marketplace. Headquartered in Beijing and Shanghai, and with offices in Los Angeles, Kylin undertakes film and television development, financing, distribution, and talent management. As a well-respected bridge between the American and Chinese film industries, Kylin specializes in the creation and execution of co-productions. Kylin’s CEO & Chairman, James Pang, is one of the leading film producers in China.
    Kylin established its international footprint with its first co-production, The Moon and The Sun. A fantasy film set in seventeenth century France, The Moon and The Sun, stars Pierce Brosnan, William Hurt and Fan Bingbing, and was produced with Pandemonium’s Bill Mechanic, the former Fox executive.

    Prior to this, Kylin had substantial success domestically in China with its acclaimed fantasy film, Painted Skin: The Resurrection. It became the first Chinese movie to make over 100 million USD at the Chinese box office (over 1 billion RMB.)

    Kylin is now developing a slate of co-production films with Hollywood studios and production companies. Its creative development team and investment group are actively seeking U.S. productions to invest in, with ambitions ranging from leading independent films to high-budget family blockbusters.
    This is great for Philip Ng. I thought Philip was channeling Chen Zhen in OUaTiS.
    Gene Ching
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    EW confirms

    Philip Ng cast as Bruce Lee in Birth of the Dragon
    BY OLIVER GETTELL • @OGETTELL


    (Warner Brothers/Getty Images)
    Posted November 16 2015 — 5:45 PM EST

    Birth of the Dragon has found its Bruce Lee.

    Hong Kong-born actor Philip Ng (Once Upon a Time in Shanghai, Vegas to Macau) is portraying the iconic martial artist in the action tale centering on a fateful fight between a young Lee and Northern Shaolin master Wong Jack Man in the 1960s. Yu Xia is playing Wong, and Billy Magnussen is playing Steve McKee, a young martial artist whose allegiance is torn between the two combatants.

    Details of the confrontation have been debated for decades — what prompted it, how long it lasted, who won — but it is nonetheless regarded as a turning point in the development of Lee’s fighting philosophy.

    George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau) is directing Birth of the Dragon, which begins principal photography Tuesday in Vancouver, Canada. Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen J. Rivele, whose credits include Ali and Nixon, wrote the script.

    “Birth of the Dragon is a rare opportunity to make an action film with rich characters based on real events and real people,” Nolfi said in an announcement about the start of filming. “It’s a story about people from the East and West transcending their differences to work together, which is obviously a very timely story.”

    Lee, who died from cerebral edema in 1973, would have been 75 this month. His family is also developing a separate biopic about him.
    For those of you who don't recall, Philip used to write for us too. He interviewed Stephan Chow for our May+June 2013 and wrote about fight choreography for film in Punching to Miss in our July August 2005.
    Gene Ching
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  9. #9
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    Commentary on this from Paul Bowman

    Wong Jack Man versus Bruce Lee Mythology: On Bruce Lee Legends and the forthcoming George Nolfi 'bio-fic'

    The origin story of Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do hinges on Lee's 1964 fight with Wong Jack Man. This is a crucial event in the martial arts biography of Bruce Lee, because it prompted his subsequent reflections on why he had not won quickly, cleanly and decisively. This caused him to revaluate critically his 'classical' or 'traditional' martial arts training and to begin researching and experimenting with both new theories of combat and innovating with new training methods and techniques.

    So far, so good. But what about his opponent, Wong Jack Man? What does the origin story do with him? And, given the fact that Wong is still alive and disputes key aspects of the story, what might this tell us about 'reality'?

    In many accounts – both in writing and in film – Wong is said to have challenged Lee to the fight because Lee was offending the Chinese martial arts community by teaching kung fu secrets to white and black westerners. In this narrative, Lee is a representative of an open-minded multiculturalism. If we follow the chain of dominoes that falls down from here, this means that Wong is conversely the representative of an essentially racist and closed Chinese community. If Lee is the future, Wong is the representative of a separatist, hierarchical and racist past. Wong writes his formal challenge letter and has it hand delivered to Lee by a deputy. In some versions, the letter actually comes from the elders and rulers of the Chinese martial arts community tout court, and Wong is their champion.

    In these versions, the Chinese community is formal and structured. As such, for the word 'community' we can easily hear the word 'triads'. And the liberal multiculturalist Bruce Lee is accordingly anathema.

    Of course, in literal terms, in this narrative, the Lee-Wong fight most frequently becomes a fight to decide Lee's right to teach martial arts at all, never mind to non-Chinese people. The point that is emphasized is that if he loses, he loses his right to teach at all. But, as I have been suggesting, the story has a strongly symbolic or even symptomatic dimension.

    Given the symbolic character of the key coordinates of this hugely overdetermined narrative structure, the bits and pieces of information that we have been given about the plot line of the forthcoming 'biopic' on Bruce Lee, directed by George Nolfi, are understandable. As one site writes: 'It will focus, in part, on Bruce Lee's 1965 duel with famous kung fu master Wong Jack Man and the attempts all three men made to stem the influence the Triads had around San Francisco'.

    Now, at first I found this laugh-out-loud funny. For what we have here is a total flight of fantasy. Bruce Lee teaming up with Wong to fight the triads?! But in terms of the overdetermined character of the Jeet Kune Do origin myth, this kind of thematic exploration makes a kind of perfect sense. For, if we think about these narratives, the fight takes place at a transitional time: Bruce Lee has yet to escape from his martial arts culture. He's struggling with it. He's an ethnically Chinese man in the US, with a white wife and a burning ambition. But in many respects he's still stuck in 'China'. As Gina Marchetti writes of the intra-ethnic struggle played out by Brandon Lee in Rapid Fire, to become smoothly 'Asian-American', there must be a battle with something 'Asian' that must be vanquished (Marchetti 2006, Bowman 2013). Thus, Lee comes into contact with the representatives of China-abroad, fights and wins. He is now free to renounce and transcend something of his past and embrace the future.

    In these narratives, Wong becomes the bearer of all of the negative symbolism of a formal, ancient, traditional, violent, Triad-China. And Lee must beat this, to prove not just 'his' but also modern multicultural US superiority. But what of Wong? In real life, very little attention has been given to what Wong has said very about the fight, although the Wikipedia entry that appears highly in an online search on him is suggestive: 'According to Linda Lee Cadwell, Bruce Lee's wife, Lee's teaching of Chinese martial arts to Caucasians made him unpopular with Chinese martial artists in San Francisco. Wong contested the notion that Lee was fighting for the right to teach Caucasians, as not all of his students were Chinese' [accessed 14 December 2015].

    Nonetheless, in the films, such as Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, and even supposedly sober documentaries on Bruce Lee, such as one I appeared in (I Am Bruce Lee), Wong is roundly dismissed as a Chinese racist, pure and simple – a kind of capo of the racist Chinese 'authorities'.

    As Sylvia Huey Chong has argued in her book, The Oriental Obscene (Chong 2012), the problem with this kind of narrative is that it locates racism related to the Chinese in the US firmly in the Chinese community: the Chinese are racist, because their community is closed and impenetrable, and so on. This means that even the celebratory narrative myths of Lee 'struggling against racism' displace the lion's share of 1960s racism away from the white hegemony and onto the shoulders of the ex pat Chinese community.

    Given this, a reconsideration of famous characters like Wong in films like the forthcoming one from Nolfi do not seem surprising. But, on all the evidence we have to date about the likely plot structure, it seems that the film is following film-history rather than the biographical-history of Bruce Lee. But, this is hardly surprising: as Meaghan Morris has pointed out, it is easy to forget that films are primarily about films, at least as much as and before they are about anything else (Morris 2001).

    In this light, it seems that George Nolfi's film will be in some sense responding to representations of Wong as typified by films like Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, and undertaking a reflection based primarily on them. And indeed we should ask, whether informed by film or by history: what about Wong? If Bruce Lee learned so much from this fight, what did Wong learn?

    Surely both the real and the mythological Wong must have learned from the fight with Lee. And if Lee beat him, then what is the lesson that the mythological Wong might? That Lee's modern 'Western' ways are superior, perhaps even the future… Such a Wong might renounce the triads and indeed 'team up' with the mythological Lee on his ineluctable battle against iniquity, tradition without reason and blind conformity to style, etc.

    Of course, I have scanty information about the film at this time. Only time will tell what the film comes to be. But we do have information about Wong, and his fight with Bruce Lee.
    Continued next post
    Gene Ching
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    continued from previous

    As mentioned, according to the Bruce Lee Posthumous Myth-Making Machine, Wong challenged Lee because Lee was teaching non-Chinese. However, according to Wong, he did not actually challenge Lee because of this. Indeed, many people have stated that Wong was actually responding (as an individual) to Lee's own open challenge to any martial artist to come and see how good he was. This makes so much more sense than the version peddled by certain members of the Lee family (see I Am Bruce Lee for a good example of this), in which Wong was angry at Lee for teaching white people. Moreover, in some of his few published statements, Wong notes that he was not actually racist at all and was indeed teaching white people kung fu at the time himself. His motivation for the fight was mere headstrong youthful arrogance and aggressiveness, pure and simple.

    But why has this never been properly been heard, acknowledged or engaged? Why do people ignore the 'two arrogant young men jostling for position in their own egos' narrative and prefer instead the 'beating Chinese racism' narrative? Doubtless there are many reasons (this is what 'overdetermination' means): because a lot of cultural thinking takes place via symbols, metonyms and stand-ins (Freud regarded 'condensation and displacement' the key aspects of 'dream-work', and this can be applied to the ways that cultures deal with 'issues', such as, say, racism – we dramatize them via stand-ins and proxies, good guys and bad guys); because Bruce Lee supporters, including the family members who have since gone on to rely on Lee's brand for their income, have actively encouraged it; because we want the battles of our heroes to be parables, allegories, and to bespeak larger truths; and so on. Unfortunately, in this mushrooming mythological process, one living individual, Wong Jack Man, has been transformed into an enduring anti-hero, both bad guy and victim.

    In the essay, 'Dominici: or, The Triumph of Literature', in Mythologies, Roland Barthes argues that a certain shared type of literary and cultural education became a key part of the prosecution's case against a man accused of murder in post-War France. The prosecution, said Barthes, relied entirely upon the kinds of association one would find in certain genres of literature to convert circumstantial evidence into 'proof' of the accused's 'inevitable' thoughts and behaviours. The case of Wong Jack Man has similar contours. But there is no courtroom for Wong other than the interminable media myth machine. Perhaps the most we can hope is that Nolfi's 'bio-fic' comes to redeem Wong in the mythical realm.

    But, we have to wonder, who will them become the new bad-guy? One might suspect, 'Old China', again. Yet, China in 2015/16 is not the same as China in the 1960s, 70s, 80s or even 90s. Reports that in researching his story Nolfi went to China to research the taiji of Bruce Lee's father are tantalizing in this regard. For, if Nolfi is combining a reworking of the Wong Jack Man Fight Myth with an argument that Lee's 'one inch punch' can be traced back to taiji, then this sends out a clear signal that the film has transnational aspirations. For taiji is, of course, in Adam Frank's words, the very symbol of 'Chinese-ness', in both the PRC and indeed for the rest of the world (Frank 2006) – taiji has long been what Douglas Wile called China's cultural ambassador to the world (Wile 1996).

    (In this light, if I were to indulge further in this kind of amateur plot diagnosis, I would be inclined to wager that it seems likely that 'the bad element' to be purged in the forthcoming bio-fic will not be 'old China', but rather the abomination/mutation that is 'China abroad', China unanchored, the China that has left China… And although this is surely going to be the Californian Chinese community, it also sounds a lot like the much reviled 'neither here nor there' China-outside-China that has long been played by Hong Kong.)

    To my mind, if the film is set to combine the mythologised fight with a claim that Lee's Jeet Kune Do owes a direct causal debt to traditional taijiquan (in the form of a claim that taiji's 'short power' is the source of Lee's 'one inch punch', for instance), then this attests to the transnational ideological alignment of the Bruce Lee Industry and the dominant ideology of the PRC. Transnational-Lee seems likely to be set to work for both Hollywood orientalism and the huge markets of the PRC – when 'PRC' no longer stands for the 'People's Republic of China' and now refers more to the 'Public Relations of China'.



    References


    Bowman, Paul. 2013. Beyond Bruce Lee: Chasing the Dragon through Film, Philosophy and Popular Culture. London and New York: Wallflower Press.

    Chong, Sylvia Shin Huey. 2012. The Oriental obscene: violence and racial fantasies in the Vietnam era. Durham: Duke University Press.

    Frank, Adam. 2006. Taijiquan and the Search for the Little Old Chinese Man: Understanding Identity through Martial Arts. New York and Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Marchetti, Gina. 2006. From Tian'anmen to Times Square: Transnational China and the Chinese Diaspora on Global Screens, 1989-1997. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

    Morris, Meaghan. 2001. "Learning from Bruce Lee." In Keyframes: Popular Cinema and Cultural Studies, edited by Matthew Tinkcom, and Villarejo, Amy, 171-184. London: Routledge.

    Wile, Douglas. 1996. Lost T'ai Chi Classics of the Late Ch'ing Dynasty. New York: State University of New York.
    For more, see Bruce-Lee-vs-Wong-Jack-Man-fight & Martial-Arts-Studies-Disrupting-Disciplinary-Boundaries-by-Paul-Bowman
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  11. #11
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    Filming in SF now!

    Man, I'm just back from vacation and swamped playing catch-up or I'd give Philip a holler.

    Bruce Lee Biopic 'Birth Of The Dragon' Filming In SF This Week


    Bruce lee as kato 1967 Photo: Wikipedia
    Thu. January 7, 2016, 10:19am
    2015 03 20 at 12.40.55 pm by Geri Koeppel

    A new biopic about legendary martial artist Bruce Lee is filming in San Francisco this week. Titled Birth of the Dragon, it's the story of the famed 1965 fight between Lee, then 25, and Shaolin Master Wong Jack Man. George Nolfi, writer of Ocean's Twelve and The Bourne Ultimatum, is directing, with Hong Kong martial arts star Philip Ng as Lee.

    According to the San Francisco Film Commission, shooting on the film began yesterday and will continue through Monday. Lincoln Park Golf Course, near the Legion of Honor, was the shooting site yesterday, and will continue today. From there, the production will move to the SS Jeremiah O'Brien-National Liberty Ship Memorial at Fisherman's Wharf. The final shoots will take place in Chinatown—on Spofford Street, one of the neighborhood's alleys, and near Grant Avenue and California Street.

    A tweet shows another Dragon-related filming notice, for Leavenworth & Union and Leavenworth & Grant from 7am–2pm Saturday:



    Channing Thomson
    ‏@CHANNINGPOSTERS
    Hollywood is shooting a 1960s Bruce Lee biopic near my place this weekend. #SanFrancisco #BirthoftheDragon #BruceLee

    According to the notice, vehicles from the 1960s, the era in which the film is set, will be placed in the vicinity.

    "The 75-year-old Wong, who remained silent about the fight for many years, currently lives in the Bay Area, and retired from teaching martial arts in 2005 after 45 years," says an article on Comingsoon.net. He'll be played in the film by Chinese actor Yu Xia (In the Heat of the Sun, The Painted Veil), with Tony Award nominee Billy Magnussen (Into the Woods, Bridge of Spies) as Steve McKee, a young martial arts student torn between the two fighters.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  12. #12
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    Vintage Chinatown

    This would have been fun to see.

    Bruce Lee Movie Set Recreates 1960s Chinatown


    Photo: Mahmoud F.
    Sat. January 9, 2016, 4:37pm

    by Eric Eldon
    @eldon

    Chinatown location Grant Avenue and California Street, sf, ca

    What were all the classic cars and people dressed in vintage clothing doing in Chinatown today?

    They were part of the set for Birth Of The Dragon, a biopic about Bruce Lee and his controversial 1965 fight as a young martial arts star against Shaolin Master Wong Jack Man.



    George Nolfi, writer of Ocean's Twelve andThe Bourne Ultimatum, is directing, with Hong Kong martial arts star Philip Ng as Lee. The Chinatown set wraps up a series of shoots that have been happening for the movie around the city.

    More details in our earlier post.

    And now for additional photos from readers.


    Chinatown resident Wilma Pang (front left) sent in this photo from her part as a background actor on the set.




    Above photos by Mahmoud F.


    Photo by Jennie K.


    Photos by Alister H.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  13. #13
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    In Variety last weekend

    How a Bruce Lee Origin Tale Is Taking Flight With Chinese Money and Abundant Diplomacy


    MOVIESTORE COLLECTION/REX SHUTTERSTOCK
    JANUARY 28, 2016 | 04:01PM PT
    James Rainey Senior Film Reporter @RaineyTime

    Despite clouds and the threat of rain, San Francisco spreads gloriously before director George Nolfi and the cast and crew of “Birth of the Dragon.” From their perch high atop Twin Peaks, they are shooting the climactic shot of the “kung fu fable” — their Steve McQueen-ish hero riding his motorcycle off to a new life.

    When the sun shoots suddenly through the gloom, Nolfi shouts for another take: “Get the motorcycle down here! There’s light on the city!” And, indeed, just as doubles for Billy Magnussen and his girlfriend (played by Jingjing Qu) roar past, sunlight splashes across the panorama and the golden dome of City Hall behind them.

    “That was great, right?” the usually more reserved director Nolfi calls across the hillside. “That was bad ass!”

    The makers of “Birth of the Dragon” have much to celebrate, beyond Mother Nature’s gift. Their origin tale on the emergence of Bruce Lee as martial arts superstar and cross-cultural role model is nearing the end of its 45-day shoot. They stand ready to capitalize on one of the few figures who could resonate with audiences from Dallas to Hangzhou – promising a shot at box office magic in the two biggest film-viewing nations in the world. And, unusually, the Chinese-American co-production obtained its entire $31 million production budget from a single Chinese company, Kylin Pictures, a rarity in a business in which risk and reward are normally sliced in myriad ways.

    The fact that “Birth of the Dragon” arrived at this juncture — with principal photography wrapping in Vancouver this week with Hong Kong-born Philip Ng playing Lee — is a tribute to the tenacity and determination of its producers on both sides of the Pacific. It’s also a case study in the cultural acuity required in still fledgling Sino-American entertainment collaborations.

    For director Nolfi that meant traveling to China at the 11th hour, on the eve of shooting, to drink copious baijiu toasts with his producers and other hosts, to dine on live scorpions and to submit to a (literal) throw-down from a martial arts master. For producer Michael London, of Groundswell Productions, it meant making an emergency trip to China over the Christmas holiday, when the Chinese funding spigot threatened to run dry.

    “You have a Chinese company funding a movie about one of the great icons of the global film industry and making the first film actually about this icon that will be seen in China and it is being produced by an American company. Now, how cool is that? That is really cross-pollination,” said Andre Morgan, the producer behind the 1973 documentary “Bruce Lee: The Man and the Legend” and longtime China hand.

    “Birth of the Dragon” springs from the true story of Bruce Lee’s 1965 showdown with Wong Jack Man, another martial arts master. It is set against the backdrop of San Francisco’s Chinatown and under the shadow of the Hong Kong organized crime triads. Magnussen plays Steve McKee, the audience’s emissary to this emerging world, caught between the two martial arts masters.

    The project gained steam with a script from Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen J. Rivele, the team behind two previous winning stories about major historical figures, “Nixon” and “Ali” and then the signing of Nolfi (who helmed the Emily Blunt, Matt Damon-starrer “The Adjustment Bureau”) to direct.
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  14. #14
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    continued from previous


    Director George Nolfi
    COURTESY OF GROUNDSWELL PRODUCTIONS

    London and the other producers (Groundswell’s Janice Williams, Wilkinson and Rivele, with Groundswell’s Kelly Mullen executive producing) intended to have a mostly Chinese and Chinese-American cast and to shoot in the Middle Kingdom, so it made sense to look for a Chinese financial backer.

    The power of the Asian market and financing has been clear to Western filmmakers for years, but myriad deals (investment in Jeff Berg’s Resolution agency, a Legendary Pictures buy-in by Huayi Brothers, for example) have fallen apart before they became final.

    The biggest Asian companies did not step forward but Kylin, headed by CEO James Pang and previous funder of 50% of the Pierce Brosnan vehicle, “The Moon and The Sun,” expressed interest. Kylin’s U.S. representative, Leo Shi Young, said the company saw an opportunity in the Lee origin tale to create the kind of breakthrough long desired in China but seldom achieved: a Chinese-themed film that would attract a U.S. and international audience.

    “The motivation, the push, is to go to the international, into the U.S. and European market, because China’s domestic film market, alone, is crowded,” said Shi Young. “We want to make good films and the filmmaking standard [in China] is not always high.”

    The $31 million commitment, solely from the company, was unusual for such trans-Pacific partnerships that typically have multiple funding sources. It initially was received as both a blessing and a concern by the U.S. partners.

    “My reps across the board said, ‘We know you love this project but there have been lot of projects with Chinese financing and you have to assume it will fall apart,’ ” Nolfi recalled. But the director was originally a student of political philosophy and international relations at Princeton and then Oxford, before turning to screenwriting. “Dragon” suited his internationalist sensibilities.

    “It’s a film about how those people come into conflict but ultimately make the world better because of their interaction,” Nolfi said, at the end of a day of shooting in San Francisco. “I don’t think there is a more important theme to address in a world that is in the kind of persistent cultural conflict that we are in.”

    Nolfi was in final preparations to begin shooting in November when his Kylin partners insisted he come to China to meet luminaries and tour sites important in the development of Kung Fu. Such a junket initially seemed a distraction. “I was very apprehensive about taking a trip two weeks before I shot,” Nolfi said.

    But Kylin agreed to give him additional prep days and Nolfi agreed to the tour. His hosts felt it was important that their director see firsthand the birthplaces of tai chi and shaolin, among the disciplines Lee combined to create his own unique fighting style. A contingent of eight or more also joined him in the Shunde district in the southern city of Foshan, where the young Bruce Lee spent much of his youth, after his birth in San Francisco.

    At his first stop, in the city of Hangzhou, Nolfi got a demonstration from a tai chi luminary, Master Wang, who promptly put the filmmaker on the ground, in one deft move. “There’s nothing like getting knocked down by a 73-year-old man in front of 30 cameras,” Nolfi said.

    Nolfi quickly embraced the tour and the chance to get a better sense of the culture that spawned two of his leading characters, Lee and his rival, Wong Jack Man. The filmmaker met Communist Party officials, local politicians and the press, in droves. In a nation where film publicity is driven, not by paid television ads, but by free media and social media, the American was followed by a horde of journalists. His Kylin hosts alone took more than 6,000 photos.

    And each stop included expansive banquets and multiple toasts of potent baijiu liquor. Nolfi tried to make the most of the opportunity. At one stop, he met a bureaucrat who oversees Yuntai Mountain Park. Many Chinese will recognize the nature reserve as sitting on the border of the homes of two competing martial arts traditions.

    Nolfi determined that the veritable Mount Olympus was symbolically the perfect locale for an opening scene that features a confrontation between two masters. So, already six potent drinks into an endless lunch, he rose to formally ask the administrator who oversees the park for his blessing to film there. The bureaucrat rose to propose yet another toast. Nolfi accepted. “I haven’t had to drink like that in a long time,” Nolfi said. He expects to be shooting in Yuntai in March.

    The filmmaker understood that he had to make his financiers comfortable with his cultural sensitivity. “Kung Fu is maybe the most famous element of Chinese culture to travel the rest of the world,” he said. “They care about how some Western guy is going to portray it.” Nolfi passed the test, said Kylin’s Shi Young. “It turned out to be a very fruitful trip,” said Shi Young. “He understands now, I believe, much better.”

    The director’s road trip sealed his relationship with his Kylin. He began filming in Vancouver just days later. But business across the International Date Line can hit unexpected bumps, even after a deal is sealed.

    In December, with the Chinese economy stalling and the value of the yuan dropping, the “Dragon” producers became convinced that the Chinese government clamped down on currency conversions to dollars. Why? Because they experienced a sudden and ill-timed interruption in the flow of funds from Kylin, midway through the shoot.

    Kylin had asked that London fly to China for a ceremonial press conference, just four days before Christmas. London agreed to go, but wanted assurances that the flow of dollars would resume. Happily, by the time he landed after an 13-hour flight, the money had transferred. The producer could keep paying his cast and crew. “The money showed up,” London said, “because Kylin was able to use its resources and connections to work around the government mandate.”

    Now, “The Birth of the Dragon” is cruising toward a wrap. Hong Kong-born, Chicago-raised Philip Ng is amazing the crew with his fighting skills, as the pre-legend Lee. The ebullient Magnussen (Kato Kaelin in the upcoming “The People v. O.J. Simpson”) hugs visitors to the set and occasionally shouts with glee, “We’re making a Kung Fu movie!”

    And Nolfi feels he has been given a gift to act as a cross cultural ambassador.

    “And it is my sincerest hope that the Chinese American people and our government get closer and closer together, because you cannot solve the world’s problems without them getting together,” says the one-time diplomacy student.

    But the film director knows that, to score a real victory, he needs more than just goodwill. “I don’t want to make just an action movie or just a Kung Fu movie,” Nolfi said. “I want to make a film with something to say, but also a movie that is fun and a little fanciful.”
    Nothing like baijiu and scorpions.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  15. #15
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    It's a wrap

    This will surely get U.S. theatrical distribution.

    ‘Birth of the Dragon’ is ready to deliver…
    28 Apr 2016/Mike Leeder



    Philip Ng essays the story of the fateful and controversial encounter between Bruce Lee and Wong Jack-man in a new biopic…

    It’s a wrap for Birth of the Dragon, directed by George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau).The movie explores the life of the legendary Bruce Lee, using the much discussed fight between Lee and Wong Jack-man as a jumping off point.

    Impact has long championed Philip Ng from (Once Upon a Time in Shanghai) – and who plays Bruce Lee in the movie – and we’re hoping this film opens all manner of doors both locally and internationally for him. The man has the looks, the moves (exceptional martial arts skills both traditional and modern) and a great attitude and we couldn’t see it happening to a nicer guy!

    Yu Xia (from Dragon Squad) plays Wong Jack-man, Billy Magnusson, Qu Jingjing, Simon Yin from Man with the Iron Fists 2 and Darren E Scott from Almost Human and Killing Salazar, are also attached to the film. While Corey Yuen (Above the Law, Kiss of the Dragon) has been the films primary choreographer, it sounds as if Ng who is an established choreographer in his own right, has also been involved in putting together some of the action with his fight team that includes Benny Ko from Police Story 2 and Alfred Hsing from Dragon Blade.

    The film is adapted from a screenplay by Christopher Wilkinson (Ali) and Stephen J Rivele (Nixon). The fight between Wong Jack-man and Bruce has long been a subject of controversy with Wong’s side claiming it was a very serious physical confrontation that resulted in Lee’s brutal defeat, while Lee’s side has said it was a simple challenge match with very different results. The match has previously been depicted in various Lee biopics, including Rob Cohen’s Dragon the Bruce Lee Story, which saw former Jackie Chan Stunt-team mainstay playing a Wong inspired character who brutally beats Lee to a near crippling defeat.

    We’re hoping for a first look at some footage shortly but in the meantime here’s a taste of what Philip Ng is capable of…

    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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