Bruce Lee Gets the Biopic Treatment

By Sameer Rao May 08, 2017

Before he conquered box offices and defied Hollywood’s still-festering stereotypes about Asian Americans with his own style of martial arts, Bruce Lee had to develop both physical and philosophical strength. An upcoming official biopic with Asian-American producers and an Indian director will focus on his coming of age in Hong Kong. 

Variety reported yesterday (May 7) that the tentatively titled "Little Dragon" will begin shooting in July. The entertainment publication offered the following project description: 

The story is a contemporary dramatization of the 1950s Hong Kong social and political forces that shaped Bruce Lee into both the most famous martial arts star of all time and a significant modern day philosopher. Themes include family disappointment, young love, true friendship, betrayal, racism, deep poverty and an inner fire that threatened to unravel his destiny. 

This will be the first narrative feature film to tackle Lee’s youth in depth. Previous movies like Kar-Wai Wong‘s "The Grandmaster," which depicts the life of Lee’s trainer Ip Man, only tangentially investigate this period of his life. 

Lee’s daughter Shannon Lee ("The Legend of Bruce Lee") co-wrote the screenplay with director Shekhar Kapur ("Elizabeth: The Golden Age") and will produce the film through her Bruce Lee Entertainment production company.

"I always thought that a film about how my father’s life was shaped in his early years in Hong Kong would be a worthwhile story to share so we could better understand him as a human being and a warrior," Lee told Variety. "I’m really excited that Shekhar will breathe life into the first film from Bruce Lee Entertainment."

Tim Kwok ("Vampire") of Convergence Entertainment, which will co-produce, adds that "this film is a deeply personal exploration of Bruce before his inner power and discipline forged him into the ground-breaking icon that continues to this day to inspire people throughout the world."

Deadline reported today (May 8) that the team launched a worldwide search for an actor to play Bruce Lee last week.