New Bruce Lee Biopic in the Works

By  · Published on February 27th, 2015

Warner Bros.

It’s been more than 20 years since the release of Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, which means it’s time for another biopic about the movie icon. Bruce Lee is one of the most famous figures in cinema history, despite the fact that he only starred in a handful of films and a short-lived TV show. He helped popularize martial arts action movies in the US and has inspired generations of fans since his premature death at age 32 in 1973 (just look at this little kid to see his continued appeal). But a new movie of his life will portray him as more than just what we know from his image on screen.

“There have been projects out there involving my father,” said Shannon Lee, the daughter of Bruce, in her announcement of the project, “but they’ve lacked a complete understanding of his philosophies and artistry. They haven’t captured the essence of his beliefs in martial arts or storytelling. The only way to get audiences to understand the depth and uniqueness of my father is to generate our own material and find amazing, like-minded partners to work with.”

She added, “Many don’t know that Bruce Lee was also a prolific writer and a creator of his own unique art and philosophy. That’s what we want to show – not just his kick-ass physicality, but the depth of his character and beliefs.”

Although she made an appearance in Dragon in a brief role (she performs “California Dreamin” during a party scene), that take on her father’s life was apparently not made with the full involvement of Bruce Lee’s family, as this one will, even though the earlier feature was adapted from a book by his widow, her mother, Linda Lee Caldwell. Shannon Lee also previously served as an executive producer on a dramatic Chinese TV series based on her father’s life titled The Legend of Bruce Lee and on the documentaries How Bruce Lee Changed the World and I Am Bruce Lee.

Now she heads Bruce Lee Entertainment and through the company will produce the new biopic with Lawrence Grey (Last Vegas) and Janet Yang (The People vs. Larry Flynt), who will concentrate on the Chinese market for the movie. Bruce Lee Entertainment is also working on new TV shows furthering the legacy of the Enter the Dragon star. One is based on ideas of Bruce Lee’s with involvement from Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 6) and the other is a Chinese reality series in collaboration with Keanu Reeves.

Here’s a trailer for the other Bruce Lee biopic, from 1993:

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.