bruce lee movie birth of the dragon

Bruce Lee Biopic ‘Birth of the Dragon’: Chinatown Gets 60’s Makeover For New Film About Bruce Lee

There is a new biopic film about Bruce Lee that began filming in San Francisco last week. The film is Birth of the Dragon and it tells the story of Bruce Lee’s fight with Shaolin Master Wong Jack Man in 1965. Lee would die mysteriously just eight years later, and it was the last fight of Lee’s career. There is no filmed account of the fight, so there has been a lot of debate about who really won that battle, Lee or Wong Jack Man. Hoodline reported that filming of Birth of the Dragon began Wednesday, January 6 and will continue through tomorrow. Hoodline got the information from the San Francisco Film Commission and said that shooting began at Lincoln Park Golf Course and would move to the SS Jeremiah O’Brien-National Liberty Ship Memorial at Fisherman’s Wharf. Final shoots will be in Chinatown on Spofford Street and near Grant Avenue and California Street.

The director of Birth of the Dragon is George Nolfi (Ocean’s Twelve, The Bourne Ultimatum), and Hong Kong martial arts star Philip Ng is starring as Bruce Lee. A Twitter post about the filming shows a flyer that mentions 60’s style cars and trucks that would be parked along the street during filming.

Hoodline also posted an article with lots of amazing pictures of how the film crew transformed Chinatown into a scene from the sixties. There are also lots of Instagram posts depicting the transformation.

Cars used to be so pretty. #chinatownsf #shoot

A photo posted by @greenerinsf on

A poster asking for Chinese talent for the movie Birth of the Dragon on Twitter.

The NBC Bay Area website posted an article expressing how thrilled San Francisco is to be telling the story of Bruce Lee. Chinatown in San Francisco is the birthplace of Lee, who was born there on November 27, 1940. Lee died in Hong Kong at the age of 32 on July 20, 1973. Producer Michael London told Variety Magazine in an interview, “We’re thrilled to be telling one of the great untold stories in martial arts history, especially at this unique moment when China and Western audiences are opening up to each other as never before.”

Variety posted the interview with London back in November and said that the movie began production in Vancouver, Canada. Variety also said that the role of Wong Jack Man would be played by Yu Xia and Billy Magnussen would play the part of martial arts student Steve McKee. Others in the film include Jinging Qu as the love interest of McKee and Jin Xing portraying a crime boss. George Nolfi (Need for Speed, The Last Stand) will be the film’s director.

Birth of a Dragon is an attempt to recreate the famed fight between Bruce and Wong, which is still the topic of debate about who actually won. Lee’s wife Linda Lee Cadwell said that Bruce won; however, Wong later gave his own different account of the fight. Wong still lives in the San Francisco area and has remained quiet about the making of the film. After the fight, Lee stopped fighting and began concentrating more on teaching. Apparently Lee changed his whole view and technique of fighting after this fight, Lee also began starring in martial arts action films.

What do you think about the telling of Bruce Lee’s fight with Wong Jack Man and who do you think actually won the fight?

[Photo by MN Chan/Getty Images]