George Nolfi to Direct Bruce Lee Biopic ‘Birth of the Dragon’

Published 11 months ago by

George Nolfi Bruce Lee Director George Nolfi to Direct Bruce Lee Biopic Birth of the Dragon

During his short life, Bruce Lee made an indelible impact on the world through his unique philosophy, unparalleled martial arts skills, and ass-kicking movies. In fact, Lee is such an icon that Hollywood is continuing to tell his story today, more than 40 years after his death.

Lee’s life was first recounted in the 1993 biopic, Dragon: The Bruce Lee story. Now his story will again appear on the big screen in a much more unconventional biopic, Birth of the Dragon.

According to Variety, George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau) has signed on to direct the project, which has been described as an ‘origin story’ of sorts. The almost comic book-style description is apt, since the film is only partially based on Lee’s real life.

Quoting from the article:

The film is inspired by the true story of Bruce Lee’s historic 1965 duel with Wong Jack Man, China’s most famous kung fu master at a time when San Francisco’s Chinatown was controlled by Hong Kong Triads. 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.

The fight between Lee and Wong Jack Man was real, while the latter battle with the Triads is completely fabricated. This wouldn’t be the first time that actual historical figures were incorporated into fictional stories, though it doesn’t happen often.

Bruce Lee Biopic Birth of the Dragon 570x294 George Nolfi to Direct Bruce Lee Biopic Birth of the Dragon

As a screenwriter, Nolfi boasts some major action movie credits including The Bourne Ultimatum and the recent Fast and Furious clone Need for Speed. On the directing side, Nolfi doesn’t have as many credits with his only feature being The Adjustment Bureau. However, he’s also in discussion to direct the thriller XOXO from Darren Aronofsky.

That doesn’t make him a bad choice to lead Birth of the Dragon, though, which sounds as if it could be a very fun and exciting action movie. The real sticking point is the cast. Stepping into the shoes of Bruce Lee won’t be easy for whomever is cast, but it will be fun to see them try.

Are you interested in checking out a pseudo Bruce Lee biopic?


Stay tuned to Screen Rant for more information on Birth of the Dragon.

Source: Variety

Follow Rob Frappier on Twitter @robfrappier
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  1. Looks like they’re all done with the IP Man fiction movies based on his real life events and now they’re moving on to Bruce Lee!!

    Can’t wait for this!! I wonder who they will have play Bruce Lee?

    Thanks for report!

    • good question…who will play Bruce Lee?

    • What about the guy who played Kato in the rather trashy Green hornet. I thought he looked as though he could be a bruce lee in a movie.

      • Hey, that actually sounds like a good candidate to play Bruce Lee.
        I second the notion!

      • Although he has charisma that many actors lack. He is no where near as fast as Bruce Lee. That is a problem, they had in the Bruce Lee knock off movies that came after Lee passed. Bruce Lee was in such physical shape and such an expert with Martial Arts that any pretending to be him just looked like a clown.

        Just to give you guys an example: Chuck Norris has the speed of a snail compared to Lee. Seagal may be fast with his hands but Bruce Lee is fast with his entire body. And etc. In Enter the Dragon I saw Bruce Lee use an Akido fighting move and this is decades before anyone has ever heard about Akido from Steven Seagal. Bruce Lee was that well versed. Also, Bruce Lee trained world champions like Chuck Norris. In a doc: Lee had Chuck Norris down to train him on his calendar.

        Jet Li has Bruce Lee’s speed but he lacks Lee’s physical strength (literally)

        The only person I’ve seen who is close to Bruce Lee’s strength, speed and skill is Donnie Yen who might be to old for the part. Well, they could use make-up.

  2. I would be willing to give Birth of the Dragon a watch. Liked Bruce Lee and Van Williams in The Green Hornet series in the 60s. Wish they would do a serious and respectful reboot of that series or at least a movie.

  3. This news makes me wanna watch Enter the Dragon again.
    I think I will!

    • Bcuz of your comment, I just watched “The Way of the Dragon” lol

      • Glad I could help! :)

  4. I’m gonna wait on who they’ll cast to play Bruce Lee

  5. Not sure about this. It might it little harder for people to suspend disbelief for a Bruce flick than an Ip Man movie because so many more people are familiar with his real life. Hope I’m wrong, though.

  6. Mark Dacascos, anyone

    • Jason Scott Lee did a phenomenal job to replace that, casting directors might wanna look for fresh faces which I think thats was gonna happen

  7. Mark Dacascos would have been a great choice 20 years ago but sadly hes a bit too old these days.
    Im guessing they will choose a relative unknown as they did for “Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story” when they cast Jason Scott Lee.
    I would be more than happy to see “Aarif Rahman” reprise the role because he did such a fantastic job on the character in “Bruce Lee: My Brother aka Young Bruce Lee”

    I will defo give it a watch but casting is just so damn important here!

    In the immortal words of the dragon himself….
    ” Take no thought of who is right or wrong or who is better than. Be not for or against. “

  8. A documentary maybe —but a feature film?


  9. I think with training, John Cho would be a great choice to play Bruce Lee.

  10. I was just eight years old when the original MM Power Rangers was produced by Fox. Dad saw me watching it after school one day and, like any good Asian father, scoffed at the choreo. “We’re going to watch a real martial arts movie instead…” And he plopped in an old video max of Enter the Dragon. He made SURE that my brothers and I watched every Bruce Lee movie available.

    That being said — LOVE this idea. Give Bruce the Ip Man treatment! He is Legend.

    • PS — Chuck Norris as himself, please

  11. One problem with The fight between Lee and Wong Jack Man that will be depicted in this movie is that it might be taken as fact in how its portrayed. Thing is there were only 7-13 people in attendance in that real fight and those that spoke of it all had very different retellings of what actually happened.

  12. I’ll just rewatch Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. Fun movie.

  13. Get the guy who played Kato. That is all.

    • my thoughts exactly. I think with a decent script he could do alot better than he was able to in Green hornet

  14. Maybe a documentary —but otherwise? —WHO NEEDS IT?


    In 2014 —WHO WANTS IT?

    WHO? –the forces of RED CHINA handover ‘perception management’ —-THAT’S WHO!

  15. I have often wondered why there has not been a remake of the greatest martial art movie of them all, Enter the Dragon?

  16. I would like to play the role of Lee.

    I am hoping George Nolfi or the Lee estate reads this.