Young, up-and-coming martial artist, Bruce Lee, challenges legendary kung fu master Wong Jack Man to a no-holds-barred fight in Northern California.
Upcoming Bruce Lee origin story Birth of the Dragon is not a traditional biopic. It blends real-life events leading up to the 1964 San Francisco fight between young martial arts artist Bruce Lee (Philip Ng) and China’s kung fu master Wong Jack Man with the fiction of Lee taking on a a group of Chinatown gangsters. The epic fight is seen through the eyes of white martial arts artist Steve McKee (Billy Magnussen) who doesn’t know how to choose between the two warriors.
Philip Ng. Once Upon a Time in Shanghai image.
Directed by George Nolfi with martial arts fight choreography by Corey Yuen, Birth of the Dragon shot a fight sequence in Vancouver’s Chinatown last December of Bruce Lee (Philip Ng) coming to the rescue of his white martial arts student Steve McKee (Billy Magunussen). McKee has encountered some gangsters after training with Lee.
Billy Magnussen on Vancouver’s Chinatown set.
Lyndon B. Johnson versus Barry Goldwater 1964 Presidential election set dressing on alley wall.
Billy Magnussen had fun sparring with a crew member before striking a mail box for the scene.
Birth of the Dragon returns to Vancouver for reshoots from June 28th to 30th.
Born in 1940 in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Bruce Lee grew up in Hong Kong where he worked in film as a child actor and trained in Chinese marital arts. On return to the U.S, the 18-year-old taught his own version of Kung Fu to Americans and later opened a martial arts studio in Oakland. Reportedly, the fight with Wong Jack Men happened after Lee refused to stop teaching martial arts to Caucasions. Not long after, Lee started choreographing Hollywood fight scenes and playing supporting roles in American TV series and films — but never the lead. He had to go back to Hong Kong to do that, starring in Asian box office hits The Big Boss, Fist of Fury and Way of the Dragon (which introduced Chuck Norris to the world). Lee’s first American-Hong Kong production was Enter the Dragon. Sadly, Lee died at age 32 before its release.