Originally published July 18, 2017: You’ve seen him play the Game Of Death opposite Bruce Lee in the late martial arts star’s final film. You’ve watched him go down in the iconic bar room brawl as “Sticks” in Out For Justice. You might have even caught him in a heartfelt and defining moment in the finale scene of David Mamet’s 2008 martial arts drama, Redbelt.
Or, if you’re immersed in the martial arts niche enough then you’ve likely given a glance at martial arts legend, Dan Inosanto, in various viral self-defense videos online or in segments from the many documentaries he’s been featured in within the last few decades, namely Jay Ignacio’s The Bladed Hand: The Global Impact of the Filipino Martial Arts or Pete McCormack’s I Am Bruce Lee. For certain, the actor and ardent teacher and FMA mainstay’s relevance is guaranteed this week with the news of a new biopic based on the Guro’s little-known life and history which includes helping the Dallas Cowboys win Super Bowl XII in 1976.
‘s exclusive, The Mark Gordon Company picked up Inosanto’s life rights and is developing the film from a script by Jeremy Gough with Mark Gordon and Matt Jackson, Tarik Heitmann, and Inosanto’s daughter and goddaughter of Bruce Lee, martial artist Diana Lee Inosanto, producing. Executive producing are Sam Sleiman, Ron Balicki and Adam Goldworm.
Inosanto was Lee’s teacher, training partner and protege who ran and taught his trainings. He, like Lee, also made inroads into movies and Hollywood, appearing in films but also reportedly over the decades instructing notables such as Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker and Ricky Nelson.
In the mid-1970s, a conditioning coach named Dr. Bob Ward created a stealth program that involved then up-and-coming linesman Randy White, with Inosanto being the key ingredient in the training. Inosanto’s involvement is said to have been key to the Cowboys’ success on the road to the Super Bowl. (Incidentally, 1976 seems to be a magic year for the setting of inspirational sports movies, as Rocky and Mark Wahlberg’s Invincible are set in those years.)
The news comes in the wake of some exciting updates in film centered on the life of Inosanto’s late mentor and founder of Jeet Kun Do, currently in the works next to other projects at Shannon Lee’s own Bruce Lee Enterprises. Fun times to be a fan of anything Bruce Lee these days.
Joanne Lee of Mark Gordon Company is overseeing the project.
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