When you’re good, you’re immortal. That’s why, four decades after his death, they’re making another Bruce Lee movie.
“Birth of the Dragon” will begin with an original, true event in Lee’s life and use it to springboard into a martial arts action adventure.
During his early days as an instructor in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Lee managed to peeve quite a few established martial arts instructors. His style of incorporating elements from various fighting arts and blending them into his “Jeet Kune Do” system, infuriated traditional martial artists who believed in the purity of styles and systems. Most notable among the outraged was Wong Jack Man, the city’s most famous (infamous) kung-fu teacher.
When Lee’s students began to grow in number, and include several Hollywood celebrities, many in the established martial arts teaching community saw him as an annoying hurdle. Chinatown, at the time, was ruled by the Triads. The established martial arts schools catered to the ruling clan either in training or money or both. Lee refused to do so. He had no established school, often traveling to a student’s home to teach. He did not limit his teachings to Chinese students, revealing ancient secrets to Americans! It set a bad example for the other schools and something needed to be done. Ruining Lee’s reputation, the Triads thought, would put an end to his rebellion.
In 1965, a challenge was issued and Lee fought Man in a no-holds barred fight. This true story will serve as a springboard for “Birth of the Dragon”. After their fight in the movie, Lee and Man will join forces to fight off a Triad gang.
Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen Rivele will write “Birth of the Dragon”. Previously, they penned Oliver Stone’s “Nixon” and Michael Mann’s “Ali”. While the screenwriters will use this anecdote from Lee’s life to expand his legend in fictional form, my sources say more emphasis will be placed on Man, who is still considered one of the great master kung-fu practitioners. If the film is successful, it may continue as a series with Man as the lead and not Lee.