Bruce Lee: Ang Lee to Direct Sony Biopic with Son, Mason Lee to Star

Ang Lee, who's largely stepped away from filmmaking the last decade except for 2019's Gemini Man along with 2016's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk and the short Empty Diary, is coming back in a big way tackling the life of actor and martial arts legend Bruce Lee in a new biopic. His son, Mason Lee (Lucy, The Hangover Part II), who worked with his father in Billy Lynn, is set to star in the biopic, which is in development at Sony's 3000 Pictures. Dan Futterman (Capote, Foxcatcher) is set to adapt the script. Earlier versions of the script came from Jean Castelli, Alex Law, Mabel Cheung, and Wells Tower.

Shannon Lee to Quentin Tarantino,
Image courtesy of Warner Bros

Bruce, not related to Ang or Mason, was at the cusp of international success before his sudden passing in 1973 at the age of 32 before the release of his first American starring role in Enter the Dragon. Before landing the joint American and Chinese production, the actor was able to achieve international success as a Hong Kong film star starting with 1971's The Big Boss for Golden Harvest. Following a string of successful films, the actor caught the attention of Warner Bros, which recruited him while filming Game of Death and attached director Robert Clouse. Before Hong Kong, Lee had a string of minor roles in Hollywood, with his most standout role as Kato in the short-lived ABC superhero series The Green Hornet in 1966 but he grew disillusioned after being repeatedly turned down for leading parts.

Bruce Lee: Ang Lee to Direct Sony Biopic with Son, Mason Lee to Star
Mason Lee and father Ang Lee at the "Life Of Pi" Special Screening, Fox Studios Zanuck Theater, Los Angeles. Editorial credit: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

"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," the two-time Oscar winner 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."

The Green Hornet (ABC) 1966-1967 (Image: ABC) Shown from left: Van Williams, Bruce Lee
The Green Hornet (ABC) 1966-1967 (Image: ABC) Shown from left: Van Williams, Bruce Lee

Lawrence Grey, Shannon Lee (Bruce's daughter), Ang Lee, Ben Everard, and Brian Bell will serve as producers. Elizabeth Gabler and Marisa Paiva are overseeing the project for the studio. The still-untitled film reunites Lee with Gabler, Paiva, and Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman after working together on 2012's Oscar-winning adventure drama Life of Pi.

Cobra Kai: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,
Bruce Lee and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Game of Death (1978). Image courtesy of Columbia Pictures

"' 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," 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." Mason, who's also starred in the Taiwanese romantic comedy Stand By Me and Hong Kong dramas Limbo and Who Killed Cock Robin, has been training for three years during the lockdown. | Deadline Hollywood

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Tom ChangAbout Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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