Martial arts cinema fans can proudly bask in the knowledge that the time-honored memory and legacy of Jeet Kune Do founder and action cinema trailblazer Bruce Lee will never be forgotten. That said, it was back in 2013 that reports cited director George Nolfi would be at the forefront of his own biographical telling of the late film star’s life in the form of Birth Of The Dragon, chronicling the events leading up to Lee’s historic confrontation with fellow martial artist Wong Jack Man.
If you’ve been keeping up, you’ll know how challenging it may be for any production to possibly find an actor suitable enough to take on portraying Lee let alone the younger iteration in his mid-20’s. It’s been done before though, although the recent production of Ip Man 3D previously intended on casting a physical performer who could host a CGI-hybrid enhancement of Lee as a result of reportedly not being able to find an actor.
Well, at least for what Nolfi has planned, there won’t be any CGI here. Casting has begun for the lead role and Project Casting has the details.
From the director of The Adjustment Bureau comes BIRTH OF THE DRAGON. Produced by Groundswell Productions, the producers of The Illusionist, Milk and Sideways, and Kylin Films. Written by the Oscar nominated writers of Nixon and Ali and casting by Joanna Colbert and PoPing AuYoung.
In San Francisco in the 1960s, a legendary fight took place between Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man. It occurred in an abandoned warehouse before twelve witnesses, no two of whom could agree on what actually happened. But it changed the history of martial arts. This story is inspired by that fight.
‘Birth of The Dragon’ will be directed by George Nolfi. In 2004, he adapted his spec screenplay Honor Among Thieves (previously considered as a John Woo vehicle) into the sequel to Ocean’s Eleven called Ocean’s Twelve. He has also written screenplays for Timeline and The Sentinel. He co-wrote The Bourne Ultimatum with Tony Gilroy, and Scott Z. Burns. Nolfi is set to direct a projected horror film entitled, XOXO, which is being produced by Darren Aronofsky and written by Black Swan writer Mark Heyman.
Bruce Lee is known for his roles in five feature-length films: Lo Wei’s The Big Boss (1971) and Fist of Fury (1972); Golden Harvest’s Way of the Dragon (1972), directed and written by Lee; Golden Harvest and Warner Brothers’ Enter the Dragon (1973) and The Game of Death (1978), both directed by Robert Clouse.
Bruce Lee became an iconic figure known throughout the world, particularly among the Chinese, as he portrayed Chinese nationalism in his films.
He trained in the art of Wing Chun and later combined his other influences from various sources, in the spirit of his personal martial arts philosophy, which he dubbed Jeet Kune Do (The Way of the Intercepting Fist).
He died in Kowloon Tong on July 20, 1973 at the very young age of 32.
“Birth of the Dragon” is inspired by the true story of Bruce Lee’s legendary duel with China’s most famous kung fu master, Wong Jack Man, in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Told from the perspective of one of Lee’s disciples, the film then follows Lee as he takes on a vicious band of Chinatown gangsters. Utilizing real-life events and characters, the film blends fiction with reality to create an original story that breaks the mold of the traditional biopic.
Casting directors are looking for a young Bruce Lee between the ages of 20 to 30 years old. An experienced martial artist highly desired but not required.
So there you have it. If you or someone you know can act and screenfight while potentially bearing a resemblance to the iconic film star, click here and go to work, and good luck! Make us proud!