Ang Lee is both a master of fighting spectacles (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and a helmer of deep character studies (Brokeback Mountain), so he would seem to be uniquely suited to the task. As Variety reports, the film is produced by Sony and 3000 Pictures while Dan Futterman (Capote, Foxcatcher) is adapting the screenplay from earlier versions of a script by Jean Castelli, Alex Law and Mabel Cheung, and Wells Tower.
“Accepted as neither fully American nor fully Chinese, Bruce Lee was a bridge between East and West who introduced Chinese Gung Fu to the world, a scientist of combat and an iconic performing artist who revolutionized both the martial arts and action cinema,” Ang said 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.”
He previously directed his son Mason Lee in the 2016 war drama Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, though Mason, a prolific actor in Taiwanese and Hong Kong films, is perhaps best known for the role of Ted in The Hangover Part II.
As it happens, Mason is currently 32-years-old, the same age that Bruce Lee was when he suddenly died of unexplained brain swelling (a recent theory suggests it was due to excessive water consumption.) Before then, Bruce Lee helped popularize martial arts around the globe with films like Fist of Fury and Enter the Dragon.
“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,” producer Elizabeth Gabler said. “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.”