The legendary martial arts star will get the authorized big-screen treatment in ‘Little Dragon,’ following his early adventures.
During his career, Bruce Lee rose to the top of the movie industry as the biggest martial arts star in Hollywood. But before all that, he was a young man trying to find his place in the world, battling through personal hardship, family turmoil, and learning the skills that would make him a kung fu master in 1950s Hong Kong.
Now that story will get the Hollywood treatment in Little Dragon, directed by Shekhar Kapur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. There have been other films about the legendary actor, including the 2016 drama Birth of the Dragon, but that was done without the family’s cooperation.
This time around, the Lee estate will be involved, adding a level of authenticity and accuracy to the project: “I always thought that a film about how my father’s life was shaped in his early years in Hong Kong would be a worthwhile story to share so we could better understand him as a human being and a warrior,” said Lee’s daughter, Shannon, in a statement.
No actor is attached yet, but a “worldwide search” is underway to find an actor to play the young Lee.
The plot of the film will follow Lee’s early days as he navigates “his family’s disappointment, young love, true friendship, betrayal, racism, deep hardship, and the inner fire that threatens to unravel his destiny,” according to the producers of the film.
Kapur is no stranger to working on period pieces and historical events on film—especially ones that take on their subjects’ formative years. Kapur helmed the Oscar-nominated films Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age with Cate Blanchett in the titular role as Queen Elizabeth, and he just put the finishing touches on the event series Will for TNT, which follows a young William Shakespeare.
“The film will be a contemporary take on Bruce Lee, who, aside from being considered the most gifted and famous martial artist of all time, is now accepted as a major philosopher in his own right,” said Kapur in a statement. “It is important that audiences today can relate their own lives to the journey of Bruce Lee, who manages to tap into his inner wisdom and harness his true destiny before it’s too late.”
There’s no release date set for the film, but it will start shooting in summer 2017 in both China and Malaysia.