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Shaw Bros. Project


"Do not deny the classical approach, simply as a reaction, or you will have created another pattern and trapped yourself there" (Bruce Lee)


costume test shot


When Bruce Lee died, there was a void created in the martial arts film industry. Not only did his death stop potential projects to materialize but it left missed opportunities in the form of projects that already had some conception. Of course there was Game of Death and The Silent Flute (the latter which was recreated as Circle of Iron by David Carradine), but there was other films he was going to do after the completion of The Game of Death.


Among these films was a project, that Bruce wanted to do, about a famous captain in ancient China called Nin Gung-Yao (or Nien Kan Yao) - a talented martial artist with good intentions if cloudy and even questionable motives. Bruce wanted his childhood friend and Shaw Bros. director Chu Yuan (or Chor Yuen) to be the director.


Bruce did a series of costume tests for this role in the last few months of his life.


Bruce in CostumeBruce in Costume


Apparently Ni Kuang and Chang Chieh were attached to the project as script-writers. Run Run Shaw wanted Cheng Kang to direct so rumours persisted that Bruce declined to do the film (under Cheng's direction) before his untimely demise on July 20th, 1973. But Chang Chieh said that they were still negotiating details for the film at the time of Lee's death. Needless to say, had Bruce lived he would have convinced Shaw to have things done his way since he was Hong Kong's biggest star at the time.


Bruce's letter to Run Run...


Dear Run Run,


As of now, consider September, Oct. & November (1973), a period of three months, reserved for Shaw.

Specific terms [we] will discuss upon my arrival.


Bruce Lee