Ang Lee Casts Son to Play Bruce Lee in Biopic on Martial Arts Legend

The Oscar-winning director cast him to play the legendary mixed martial artist. The feature film is now in development at Sony’s 3000 Pictures.

Actor Mason Lee (L) and his father director Ang Lee

Image via Getty/Visual China Group

Actor Mason Lee (L) and his father director Ang Lee

Ang Lee didn’t have to look too far for his next leading man. 

According to Variety, the Oscar-winning director has cast his son Mason Lee to star in an untitled Bruce Lee biopic from Sony’s 3000 Pictures. Mason, 32, was tapped to portray the Chinese-American legend who became one of the biggest legends within film and martial arts. Variety reports Ang will direct the project with a script by Dan Futterman (Capote, Foxcatcher). Early versions of the screenplay were reportedly written by Jean Castelli, Alex Law, and Mabel Cheung, and Wells Tower.

“Accepted as neither fully American nor fully Chinese, Bruce Lee was a bridge between East and West who introduced Chinese Gung Fu to the world, a scientist of combat and an iconic performing artist who revolutionized both the martial arts and action cinema,” Ang said in a statement to the outlet. “I feel compelled to tell the story of this brilliant, unique human being who yearned for belonging, possessed tremendous power in a 135 pound frame, and who, through tireless hard work, made impossible dreams into reality.”

Elizabeth Gabler and Marisa Paiva are overseeing the film, which will be produced by Ang and Shannon Lee, Lawrence Grey, Ben Everard, and Brian Bell.

The upcoming film will mark Mason’s first major leading role. He previously appeared in projects like The Hangover Part 2, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, and Legend of the Demon Cat. Mason also made a cameo in a 2016 episode of ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat. According to Deadline, Mason has been training for the role over the past three years in Asia. It’s unclear if he had any martial arts experience prior to the casting. 

Bruce Lee is a longtime passion project for Ang and a deeply emotional story depicting the triumphs and conflicts of one of the foremost real life action heroes of our time,” Gabler said. “All of us at Sony and 3000 Pictures are proud to help Ang and his filmmaking team create what we believe will be an extraordinary theatrical event.”

Bruce Lee began working in film in the 1940s, and went on to star in iconic movies like Fist of Fury,The Way of the Dragon, Enter the Dragon, and The Green Hornet; the latter two were released shortly after Bruce Lee died at the age of 32.

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