The controversial 1960s fight between Hong Kong-American martial artist Bruce Lee and Shaolin Master Wong Jack Man will be brought to the big screen soon.
According to TheWrap, “The Adjustment Bureau” director George Nolfi is currently working on “Birth of the Dragon”, a martial arts action movie that will centre on the fight between Lee and Wong.
The movie is set to recreate the mid-1960s fight between Lee and Wong from the point of view of Steve McKee, a young martial arts student’s allegiance became torn between the duo.
Accounts of Wong’s fight with Lee are controversial because it was unrecorded and held in private. However, after the battle, Lee reinvented himself and his kung fu style. Wong, on the other hand, remained silent about it for many years and retired from teaching martial arts in 2005. He’s currently 75 years old and lives in the Bay Area.
“Into the Woods” actor Billy Magnussen will play McKee while Chinese actress Jinging Qu will portray his love interest, Xiulan. As for Lee and Wong, they will be played by Hong Kong-born actor Philip Ng and Mainland Chinese actor Yu Xia respectively. Iconic Chinese artiste and TV host Jin Xing will play Auntie Blossom, a ruthless crime boss who happens to be a transsexual.
Nolfi will be directing based on a screenplay written by Oscar nominees Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen J. Rivele (of “Nixon” and “Ali” fame). Chinese film company Kylin Films will finance it.
In a press statement, Nolfi said:
“Birth of the Dragon” is a rare opportunity to make an action film with rich characters based on real events and real people. It’s a story about people from the East and West transcending their differences to work together, which is obviously a very timely story.
Nolfi with executive produce it with Leo Shi Young and David Nicksay. Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Michael London will serve as a producer of this film with his producing partner Janice Williams, Kylin’s James H. Pang, Wilkinson, and Rivel. Helen Y. Zhong, Jaeson Ma and Joel Viertel (who is also editing the film) are co-producing it.
London said in a statement:
We’re thrilled to be telling one of the great untold stories in martial arts history, especially at this unique moment when China and Western audiences are opening up to each other as never before.
“To work with a Chinese film company like Kylin on a story that has so much significance in China has been a wonderful collaboration, and, we hope, the first of many,” he added.
Groundswell Productions is producing it and principal photography will begin this week in Vancouver, British Columbia. A graduate of the Peking Opera School, Renowned martial arts choreographer Corey Yuen will design the film’s action sequences.
A separate Bruce Lee biopic is in the works, with his family developing it.