Bruce Lee's master on film
Bruce Lee may be the ultimate marital artist to many, but did you know that he too once had a master, and that his life is being made into two separate films, and both are set to carry strong names and come from China. Thankfully so too, because I don't think a western film would do the man justice.
In one film Donnie Yen will play Ip Man, and in another Tony Leung will play the man who once taught the legendary Bruce Lee.
Although Ip Man only taught Bruce Lee for some five years, he was none the less his teacher for that time. The story in the Washington Post tells us that he was born in 1893 and started training in 1903 in Wing Chun. He left the communist takeover of the mainland and arrived in Hong Kong in the 1940's and started teaching Kung Fu to restaurant workers initially, and then broadened his teaching to hundreds of students including Bruce Lee. He died in 1972, a year before Lee.
Donnie Yen will play the man in a film which will also star Sammo Hung and is receiving the backing of Ip's sons, and they all appeared for the press during a tribute to Ip Man in his hometown. Of the role Yen said:
"We all know that teacher Ip Man promoted Chinese kung fu around the world. He's also the teacher of my idol Bruce Lee. So when I took this role I put a lot of pressure on myself..."
Indeed, this will be a tough role to play, but a good one. I find it interesting that the story of Ip Man is being brought to the big screen before any planned film about Bruce Lee, something we've heard being talked about a number of times in the past.
The other film in the works will come from Wong Kar-wai and will star Tony Leung Chiu-wai, so that one suggests that it's going to be a pretty big film. Although there's no information out about when that film will begin Tony Leung has said that he is devoting the second half of this year to studying Wung Chun with shooting starting the beginning of next year.
So we'll see the Donnie Yen starrer much sooner. The whole idea of martial arts and dedicated training does fascinate me, the lengths that Bruce Lee went to and the dedication that he showed in pursuit of knowledge and understanding is amazing, and until now I had no idea of Ip Man. Definitely something to watch out for, especially with the talents involved, but will the second film be the one to watch out for?