So this isn’t really an origins story, right? As in, something based on fact, and nothing but fact? From the sounds of it, it’s a sorta, kinda factual origins story that gets a tad, er, creative license-y as it goes on. But hey, I could be wrong.
Screenwriters Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen Rivele, who have a history of writing true bio pics about famous people (they count “Ali” and “Nixon” among their credits), have been hired by QED International and Groundswell Productions to pen a new film based on the early life of Bruce Lee to be called “Birth of the Dragon”.
So what’s the angle this time? Says Heat Vision:
Dragon, according to QED and Groundswell, is inspired by the true-life duel between Lee and Wong Jack Man, who was China’s most famous Kung Fu Master. The no-rules fight took place in San Francisco in 1965, when the city’s Chinatown was controlled by Hong Kong Triads. The writers are using this true event as a jumping-off point for a wider canvas action movie in which Wong and Lee team up to battle a band of Chinatown gangsters.
I could be wrong, but it sounds like they’ll be using a single, real event in Bruce Lee’s life (the events of which are greatly disputed, depending on who you ask) and blowing it up into a full-scale martial arts flick pitting Lee and Wong Jack Man against Chinese gangsters.
The thing is, that could work — as long as they make it clear this isn’t a “true story”, but more of a “what if” take on the legendary martial artist’s life. I think most fans of Lee could swallow that and even enjoy a kung fu movie made in the spirit of Bruce Lee.
Hong Kong has done plenty of Bruce Lee movies since his death, but I think the only Hollywood film to ever tell his tale was 1993’s “Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story” starring Jason Scott Lee (no relation). Bruce also fought Wong Jack Man in that one, too, though I don’t recall the Triads being involved.