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The Writers Of 'Ali' & 'Nixon' Are Going To Turn The Life Of Bruce Lee Into A Franchise

The Playlist By Joe Cunningham | The Playlist February 20, 2013 at 2:28PM

So it looks like you’ll finally get to see that Bruce Lee origin story you always wanted to see up on the big screen. And no, that doesn’t mean we’re getting a Bruce Lee biopic – this is the origin story (you know, like the kind that Wolverine got) of Bruce Lee-the-movie-character, who it seems sits in a bizarre middle-ground somewhere between the real Bruce Lee and his big-screen persona. “Birth of the Dragon” is taking inspiration from a real life duel that Lee had with China’s most famous kung-fu master, Wong Jack Man, and that will serve as a jumping-off point for a potentially franchise-launching action movie in which Lee and Wong team up to fight a band of Chinatown gangsters.
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Bruce Lee

So it looks like you’ll finally get to see that Bruce Lee origin story you always wanted to see up on the big screen. And no, that doesn’t mean we’re getting a Bruce Lee biopic – this is the origin story (you know, like the kind that Wolverine got) of Bruce Lee-the-movie-character, who it seems sits in a bizarre middle-ground somewhere between the real Bruce Lee and his big-screen persona. “Birth of the Dragon” is taking inspiration from a real life duel that Lee had with China’s most famous kung-fu master, Wong Jack Man, and that will serve as a jumping-off point for a potentially franchise-launching action movie in which Lee and Wong team up to fight a band of Chinatown gangsters.

While this is definitely an origin story and not a biopic, that line may be blurred further as the film’s screenwriters, Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen Rivele, have a pretty great track record when it comes to biopics. The pair’s credits include Oliver Stone’s “Nixon,” Michael Mann’s “Ali,” and the upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic “Mercury” in which Sacha Baron Cohen is set to star. “Stephen Rivele and Chris Wilkinson have taken a little-known chapter in the life of Bruce Lee and used it as a jumping-off point for a bold, exciting story about the making of an international legend,” said producer Michael London.

Lee and Wong apparently duelled in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1965, back when that region was controlled by Hong Kong triads – so that’s the true part of Lee’s story that the film will be depicting, although we’d imagine there will be no pressure to be all that faithful even to that event. We’re not quite sure how we feel about a real person’s life being contorted simply to launch an action franchise, but there’s still no bigger name than Bruce Lee when it comes to martial arts and we’re sure, if executed correctly, this could indeed be successful enough. We were just getting used to accepting “Based on a true story” as bullshit though, will we have to start applying the same logic to “Based on a true person” too? [THR]

This article is related to: Birth Of The Dragon


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