The upcoming Bruce Lee biopic has found a director. Oscar-winning filmmaker Ang Lee has reportedly decided to direct Bruce Lee, and tapped his son, Mason Lee (The Hangover II, Lucy), to star as the legendary martial artist and actor. The script for Bruce Lee is being re-written by Dan Futterman, who wrote previous award-nominated biopic films like Capote (about writer Truman Capote) and Foxcatcher (about wealthy elitist/sports enthusiast John du Pont murdering wrestler David Schultz); before Futterman Jean Castelli, Alex Law, Mabel Cheung, and Wells Tower all did drafts of this Bruce Lee movie. Lawrence Grey, Shannon Lee, Ang Lee, Ben Everard, and Brian Bell are all producing, with Elizabeth Gabler and Marisa Paiva overseeing the project for Sony 3000 Pictures.
"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 in a statement. "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."
"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 added. "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."
Who Is Bruce Lee?
Bruce Lee (born Lee Jun-fan) was a Hong Kong martial arts star who became one of Hollywood's most popular movie action stars and/or instructors of the now-beloved '60s and '70s eras of movie-making. Lee was born in San Francisco and was raised in British-occupied Hong Kong, where he started in the Hong Kong film industry as a child actor. Lee became a martial arts student under legends like Yip Man, in styles that would ultimately range from Wing Chun to tai chi, to boxing (Muhammad Ali), street fighting, judo, taekwondo, karate, wrestling, fencing, and Wing Chun/Kung fu hybrid style Jeet Kune Do, which Lee himself created.
With such accomplishments in both martial arts style, fitness, and showmanship, Lee became a martial arts movie star of the '70s – as well as an instructor to Hollywood figures like Chuck Norris, Sharon Tate, NBA icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, infamous filmmaker Roman Polanski, and others. Lee also trained his own son, Brandon Lee, to be a master martial artist; tragically, both Bruce and Brandon Lee both died well before their times: Bruce died of a bad response to a painkiller and the brain ailment cerebral edema; Brandon was killed on the set of the film The Crow, when a prop gun fired a real projectile into his chest.
Bruce Lee's legacy hangs over Hollywood to this day. His life and accomplishments have inspired multiple biopics and documentaries alike, including Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious) 1993 cult classic, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, which had actor Jason Scott Lee playing Bruce.
Ang Lee's Bruce Lee biopic is now in development.