The fight scenes behind the “authorized” biopic of Bruce Lee

With the family’s blessing.
With the family’s blessing.
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Another film about Bruce Lee is on its way.

But unlike previous biopics, the latest one is billed as the official, “authorized” version of the story of the legendary kung fu star intended to set itself apart from the rest, including one produced by his younger brother.

Previous Bruce Lee films have come with their share of controversy and are often denounced by the late star’s daughter, Shannon Lee, who holds tight control over the likeness of his father. The 2016 film Birth of the Dragon, for example, portrayed the martial-arts legend as little more than a white guy’s sidekick, which Shannon said was “inaccurate and insulting.” The 2010 biopic Bruce Lee, My Brother, produced by Bruce Lee’s brother Robert Lee, was almost never released when Shannon got involved, reportedly serving him and film companies legal letters. Robert said he had tried to get Shannon involved, but she stayed out of the project. Eventually the two settled the case.

For decades, the ownership of Bruce Lee’s story has been the center of disputes among family members. Bruce Lee’s widow, Linda Cadwell; their late son, Brandon (who was shot dead in 1993 while filming The Crow); and Shannon claimed successor-in-interest rights of a deceased personality under California law in 1985. Cadwell and Shannon have subsequently maintained control over the use of Lee’s name, images, and related materials through the Bruce Lee Enterprises since 2008.

The latest biopic, Little Dragon, will have Shannon’s seal of approval, since her company Bruce Lee Entertainment along with Convergence Entertainment will produce it. Indian director Shekhar Kapur, best known to the global audience with his award-winning biopic Elizabeth starring Cate Blanchette, is signed onto the movie, and filming will commence in July.

According to reports, Little Dragon will be set in 1950s Hong Kong, where Bruce Lee grew up. The story will reportedly focus on the socio-political events as well as people that contributed to the transformation of Lee into the world’s most famous kung fu star.