“Bruce Lee, My Brother,” is set for release in Hong Kong on November 25th and will depict the early years of the martial arts screen master, as told by his siblings.
Bruce Lee was undisputedly the greatest martial artist ever to grace the screens, but to many his life has remained a mystery. It would have been Lee’s 70th birthday on Sunday and to mark the celebration of his life and work, the biopic will lift the lid on his childhood and teens thanks to the memories of his four surviving siblings, Phoebe, Agnes, Peter (who passed away in 2008) and Robert.
Hong King director Raymond Yip said, “The Lee family supplied us with all the details and the tidbits of their family life, so we took great care to be loyal to the truth and avoid anything that felt fake, which made it rather difficult for us in terms of creating the structure of the script. But the Lee family was very pleased with the result, especially with how close it was to what actually happened.”
The biopic has been something of a labour of love for Yip and has taken years to reach the screen. The biggest problem he faced was in finding the right actor, who could not only capture Bruce Lee in physicality but also in spirit.
“We’ve been on the lookout for a possible candidate all over China since 2008, but no one could capture the Hong Kong spirit of the young Bruce Lee,” explained Yip.
By good fortune Yip found his man. The film’s producer Manfred Wong was invited to a screening of Alex Law and Mabel Cheung’s opus, “Echoes of the Rainbow,” and 23 year old leading man Aarif Rahman, making his acting debut, was exactly what they’d been looking for.
After capturing his star-in-the-making Yip stated, “Including Lee’s brother Robert, we were quite amazed by how much Aarif resembles Bruce. No one can say for sure whether an actor really embodies Bruce’s spirit except for his family. So it was a go from then on,”
The film has cost $4.6m and began pre-production in March with a release penned for November 25th in Hong Kong. The film looks set to be screened in ten other territories.
On the subject of follow ups Yip said, “We certainly hope to continue telling Bruce Lee’s story, but it depends on how this one is received, especially on the public reception of Aarif as Bruce Lee. Lee was a legendary figure. Who plays him in the film is the biggest issue for us as filmmakers. But I have faith in Aarif,”
Bruce Lee died at the age of 33 on July 20th, 1973 of a cerebral edema – swelling caused by fluid congestion around the brain. His movies, such as Enter The Dragon, Big Boss, Fist of Fury and Game Of Death are a lasting tributes to a much loved and respected icon.
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