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Shekhar Kapur to Direct Authorized Bruce Lee Biopic ‘Little Dragon’

Variety logo Variety 5/8/2017 Patrick Frater
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Shekhar Kapur is to direct “Little Dragon,” an authorized biopic of martial arts legend Bruce Lee.

The story is a contemporary dramatization of the 1950s Hong Kong social and political forces that shaped Bruce Lee into both the most famous martial arts star of all time and a significant modern day philosopher. Themes include family disappointment, young love, true friendship, betrayal, racism, deep poverty and an inner fire that threatened to unravel his destiny

Production is by Bruce Lee Entertainment, a company operated by Lee’s daughter Shannon Lee, along with Los Angeles-based Convergence Entertainment.

Shannon Lee conducted significant new research into her father’s youth and formative years, a subject which has previously been tangentially explored in numerous moves including Wong Kar-wai’s “The Grandmaster” and the rival “Ip Man” franchise movies respectively directed by Wilson Yip and Herman Yau. Kapur, who also serves as executive producer, co-wrote the “Little Dragon” screenplay with Shannon Lee.

“This film is a deeply personal exploration of Bruce before his inner power and discipline forged him into the ground-breaking icon that continues to this day to inspire people throughout the world,” said Tim Kwok of Convergence.

Pre-production is now under way, ahead of a an anticipated shoot from July in Malaysia. Casting is headed by US casting director, Mary Vernieu.

The film is structured as a U.S., Hong Kong and China co-production financed by Dadi Media Group, Beijing Golden World Pictures, Shanghai Longzhilin Cultural Investment Partnership and Kirin Media. The producers are currently handling all distribution rights.

“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 was too late,” said Kapur in a prepared statement. He picks up after completing duties on TNT’s highly anticipated 10-part television series “Will,” on which he is executive producer and co-director.

“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. “I’m really excited that Shekhar will breathe life into the first film from Bruce Lee Entertainment.”

Yu-San Yu, Allen Tan, Leo Zheng and Jeff Chao will also serve as executive producers.

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