Bruce Lee's untimely death in 1973 left a lot of questions unanswered, especially as the martial arts icon was reaching his peak potential with films like Enter The Dragon. Among the many unfinished projects Lee left behind, one was an idea for a TV series named Warrior. He had sketched the plan for a show about morality in the modern world through the eyes of a martial arts expert in handwritten notes.
Check out Bruce Lee's iconic fight scene from The Big Boss:
This story was long forgotten until his daughter, Shannon Lee, discovered them decades after his unexpected passing. Now Shannon is collaborating with Justin Lin (director of Fast 8 and Star Trek: Beyond) to bring Bruce Lee's untold story to life. Cinemax has agreed to produce a pilot episode with Justin Lin in the hopes of exploring it further and making it into a full series.
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Who Could Fill Bruce Lee's Shoes?
The story of Warrior takes place in San Francisco shortly after the Civil War when the city was a melting pot of newly arrived immigrants from Asia. The action follows a martial arts prodigy, fresh off the boat from Hong Kong, as he gets embroiled in the bloody Chinatown Tong wars between rival gangs. The question on everyone's lips now is, as Lee obviously intended to take the role of protagonist, who could possibly play the lead?
1. Jackie Chan
Bruce Lee has a huge cult following all over the world, but Jackie Chan — one of Lee's biggest fans — has also been able to maintain a dedicated fanbase in his own right throughout his impressive 54-year career.
It would be great to see Jackie in the lead role, but sadly the character description specifies that he is a young prodigy — and believe or not, Jackie is pushing 62. Although he's still in incredible shape and spritely as ever, the role requires someone more fresh faced (afraid the same goes for Jet Li too). Plus, the story also sounds quite bloody, which would clash with Chan's style of innocent almost Chaplin-esque martial arts. Hopefully, we will see him in a side role as a mentor or even a villain.
Check out the best of Jackie Chan:
2. John Cho
The Korean American actor made a name for himself with the break-out comedy classic Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, but he also showed his strength as a drama actor in the recent Star Trek series. He would be a perfect fit for the dramatic elements of Warrior but would need to do a lot of work to get into fighting shape for the action scenes. He would also have to probably learn Mandarin for some of the dialogue in order to be convincingly Chinese. Who knows, it might be amazing to see a stoner/kung-fu cross over!
3. Zhang Ziyi
Zhang Ziyi became internationally renowned for her roles in the Oscar-winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers and Rush Hour 2, in which she combines powerful performances with stunning action choreography. Ziyi translated her background in dance into the world of martial arts cinema by proving she could kick as high as Lee. She would be a perfect fit for Warrior, adding a different spin to a familiar story.
Watch her take on Tony Leung in The Grandmaster:
4. Tony Jaa
Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior caught the attention of audiences everywhere for its physics-defying live-action stunts in the age of CGI overuse. At the center was the star Tony Jaa, a young Thai actor and Muay Thai expert who blended different martial arts styles masterfully. The Ong Bak trilogy displayed a new realism, audiences could almost feel the impact of each hit as Jaa dispatched opponent after opponent.
Check out Jaa going nuts in The Protector:
Who would you like to see fill Bruce Lee's shoes?