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Oscar-winning director Ang Lee will direct his son, playing Bruce Lee in biopic

Mason Lee, the director's son, will play the Chinese American martial arts star, who died in 1973.
Bruce Lee in a scene from 'Enter the Dragon'
Bruce Lee in a scene from "Enter the Dragon" in 1973.Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Ang Lee, the Academy Award-winning director of “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi,” is set to direct an upcoming film about the Chinese American martial arts icon Bruce Lee.

Mason Lee, the son of Ang Lee, will play Bruce Lee in Sony’s 3000 Pictures film. 

“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 Lee said in a statement. “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.”

The producers of the yet-to-be-titled film are Ang Lee, Lawrence Grey, Ben Everard, Brian Bell and the daughter of Bruce Lee, Shannon Lee.

Ang Lee, the first nonwhite person to win the Oscar for best director, directed the 2000 martial arts film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” the highest-grossing foreign-language film in U.S. history. His films have been nominated for 38 Academy Awards and won 12. His other films include “The Wedding Banquet” (1993), “Sense and Sensibility” (1995) and “Hulk” (2003).

Mason Lee and Ang Lee in Los Angeles
Mason Lee, left, and Ang Lee in Los Angeles, in 2012. Michael Tran / FilmMagic file

Mason Lee, 32, is known for his role as Teddy in “The Hangover Part II” and Foo in “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.” (Ang and Mason Lee are no relation to Bruce Lee.)

Bruce Lee, a renowned actor, director and martial arts expert, is best known for his roles in “Fist of Fury,” “Enter the Dragon,” “The Way of the Dragon” and the TV series “The Green Hornet.” 

Lee has long been a source of pride for the Asian American community. Born in 1940 in San Francisco, he was raised in Hong Kong and appeared in several films as a child. At 13, he went on to study wing chun kung fu under the renowned master Yip Man, according to the Bruce Lee Estate.

After immigrating to the U.S. at 18, Lee studied at the University of Washington and later found success in teaching kung fu. He was discovered while doing an exhibition at the Long Beach Internationals and began his role as Kato in “The Green Hornet” soon after. He also developed his own martial art during this time called Jeet Kune Do, the Bruce Lee Foundation's website said.

After “The Green Hornet” was canceled, Bruce Lee struggled to find work in Hollywood and returned to Hong Kong to pursue a film career. After starring in films that broke box office records in Hong Kong, he was in the process of making the first Hollywood/Hong Kong co-production, “Enter the Dragon.” He died in 1973, a month before the film was set to premiere, according to the estate.

“‘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,” the president of 3000 Pictures, Elizabeth Gabler, said in a statement.