The Big Picture
- Ang Lee’s highly anticipated Bruce Lee biopic is almost ready to begin filming, with all writing for the project nearly complete.
- The only major obstacle in the way of the biopic is the ongoing WGA/SAG-AFTRA strike, held up by the AMPTP’s refusal to meet the needs of the labor force.
- Ang Lee, a multi-award-winning director, is the perfect fit for the delicate task of telling the emotional story of Bruce Lee’s life, with his son Mason Lee cast in the lead role.
After spending years preparing the script and training his son, Ang Lee could soon get underway on his hotly-anticipated Bruce Lee biopic, according to producer Lawrence Grey. Announced late last year, it was unclear exactly how much of the project the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon filmmaker had developed before releasing an update. Grey told our Editor-in-chief Steve Weintraub during an interview at TIFF that all writing for the project was nearly complete.
The one remaining major obstacle in the way of the biopic is the WGA/SAG-AFTRA strike. When asked if cameras could roll soon after the work stoppage, Grey said, “I believe that’s right. We still have a little bit of work to do on it, but we’ve climbed some mountains, and I think we’re pretty close.” An agreement, unfortunately, doesn’t appear particularly close. As the unions fight for fair wages and other workplace protections, they’ve seen little receptiveness from the AMPTP and any attempts at negotiations between the two evaporate as soon as they begin. While some, like Disney’s Bob Iger, have claimed they want a quick end to the strikes, major studios have shown a willingness to starve out writers and actors, meaning it could be a while before the strike finally ends.
What to Expect From Ang Lee’s Bruce Lee Biopic
The biopic is a passion project for the Academy Award-winning director Lee with his son Mason Lee taking on the role of one of the most ubiquitous Chinese-American actors to ever appear on the big screen. From his early days playing sidekick to The Green Hornet to leading beloved martial arts films like Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee became an important cultural bridge between the East and West, defining himself as arguably the greatest and most compelling martial artist to ever live. On-screen, his story promises to be an emotional one about the actor’s journey to belong leading up to his untimely death at the age of 32.
There are few directors better to handle such a delicate and important story of a real-life action hero than Ang Lee who has two Oscars to his name for Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi among a collection of other awards. He’s joined by writer Dan Futterman, a fellow Academy Award nominee whose biopic experience includes the 2006 film, Capote. Mason Lee is currently the only cast member aboard, bringing in a resume that includes The Hangover Part II and Who Killed Cock Robin? along with years worth of training to best fit into the role of the late Lee.
Lee’s biopic isn’t the only Bruce Lee project on the docket. An anime about the martial arts icon titled House of Lee is due out in 2024 and will be a more fantastical addition to Lee’s legacy. Throughout the series, he will set out to unite a team of dragon warriors to defend against the coming darkness. The reveal coincided with the 50-year anniversary of Enter the Dragon‘s release which saw the classic film return to theaters and receive a new 4K Ultra HD release.
Stay tuned here at Collider for more on Lee’s biopic and keep an eye out for more of our coverage from TIFF 2023.