Hey Yo, Draven here.
Lost among all of the big Marvel news on Friday was Variety’s report that the Bruce Lee biopic, BIRTH OF THE DRAGON, has finally locked in a director in THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU’s George Nolfi. This isn’t just any old biopic either as it will specifically document the very interesting 1965 duel Bruce Lee had with Wong Jack Man. When we first heard about this project in February of 2013, Quint broke down exactly what made this legendary duel so infamous:
"The fight was not recorded, but the legendmaking started immediately after the end of the fight. Depending on who you believe, between 7 and 15 people witnessed it, it lasted 3 minutes or 25 minutes, Bruce Lee won and/or Wong Jack-Man won. This isn't history buffs theorizing, this is how much disinformation is out there starting the day after the fight!
This was Lee's pivotal fight, the one that broke him off of Wing Chun and set him on the road to developing Jeet Kune Do. If you listen to Lee and his friends and family, the fight was about the right to teach martial arts to white folk. If you listen to Jack-Man it was in response to challenge and he felt Lee had disrespected the community and needed to be checked. I'm not sure if that community disrespect involved teaching white people martial arts, but Jack-Man seems to be adamant that wasn't the case.
Lee's wife recounts the fight as being over quickly, with Lee dominating... but then goes on to say that Lee was winded and this fight prompted him to change his fighting style, which doesn't sound like something that'd happen if he just stepped in and beat Jack-Man down.
Jack-Man claims he showed incredible restraint in not striking killing blows when he had the chance, despite Lee fighting dirty and that by the end of it he fought mostly defensively and wore down his opponent."
The Variety report adds:
“The story of the match is told from the perspective of Steve Macklin, a young disciple of Lee, who ultimately joins forces with Lee and Wong to battle a vicious band of Chinatown gangsters."
I was a big fan of THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU so I love the hire of Nolfi, who also had a hand in writing OCEAN’S TWELVE and THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM. The writers who penned the script, Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen Rivele, already have a history with decent biopics, having written the screenplays for Michael Mann’s ALI and Oliver Stone’s NIXON. So there is definitely some talent involved here, and then you add in the interesting nature of the story and the countless ways in which they can take the direction of the story here and I am sold.
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