Bruce Lee & His Scriptwriting Team

Bruce Lee & His Scriptwriting Team

LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

November 1st, 2016, 7:29 am #1


Camera, Bruce Lee and His Scriptwriting Journey
====================================
Camera loves Bruce and vice-versa. Bruce's relationship with the film industry began with his first cameo appearance for the Golden Gate Girl when he was only 3 months old. He officially started filming since at a tender age of 6. After making over 20 childhood movies, he went abroad for further study. His last HK teenage film was “The Orphan” shot between late 1958 to early 1959. While studying in the University of Washington, some of his Gung Fu demos (circa between 1960-1963) in the campus were captured by the University staff’s 8mm camera. Then, Bruce also appeared with his students and Sifu Fook Young in the Seattle KCTS 9 TV program in early 1961 to promote his Gung Fu. Bruce then shot his Jun Fan Gung Fu training with Taky Kimura using his own 8mm home camera as early as 1963. Subsequently, Ed Parker captured Bruce’s demo in the 1964 Long Beach Karate Tournament. After witnessing this footage, William Dozier invited Bruce for the “Number 1 Son” audition in early 1965 which did not make it to the TV screen eventually. However, Bruce shot The Green Hornet TV series from 1966-67. From then onwards, Bruce rekindles the flame with the film industry. The rest is history.

Besides working in front of the camera, Bruce also loved to work behind the camera. Not only drawings, Bruce was good in writing too. As early as 1966, Bruce had already started to write plots for The Green Hornet. According to The Green Hornet’s researcher, Martin Grams, Bruce wrote 13-page plot proposal for a Hornet’s episode but there’s only plot proposal submitted by Bruce that never made it to production. The title was “The Cobra From The East” dated Oct 28, 1966. Probably, this might be the beginning of Bruce's journey in writing TV series/movies plot, which contributed to his strong foundation in writing movie scripts later on, such as The Warrior, Silent Flute, Green Bamboo Warrior, Southern Fist, Northern Legs and The Game of Death etc. Especially Silent Flute, Bruce was particularly excited to make this movie. So, he formed a trio script writing group with Stirling Silliphant and James Coburn in 1969. They would meet and discuss about the script many times from 1969-1970. However, the plan of filming Silent Flute was cancelled in early 1971. Then, Bruce worked on a story called “The Warrior” which he initially thought he would play the main lead. But the TV station got David Carradine to play “The Warrior” which was later re-titled “Kung Fu” in late 1971. Bruce was disappointed but then concentrated his film career in HK.

After completing FOF in early Dec 1971, Bruce started to write script by himself (source: HK Commercial Press, Dec 71). By end 1971, he and Raymond Chow founded Concorde Production Company. To Bruce, it’s a dream come true. He wanted to produce top quality martial arts movies and to do so, he knew first of all, he ought to have good scripts. Hence, immediately after establishing Concorde, Bruce formed his own GH/Concorde’s scriptwriting team (about 6-7 members including his assistant director Ricky Chik. Other possible members include Hoh Seung-Ling, Kuang Chih-Chung, Louis Sit Chi-Hung, Mao Lu, David Chan and Benson Cheng Bing-Sam).

The team headed by Bruce, used to hold regular meetings in GH’s office located at Tong Eng Building and occasionally at Bruce’s house. They discussed and brainstormed ideas for new scripts and Bruce would often tape record the storyline (source: “Bruce Lee, The Legend” - 1984). The discussions usually took about 3 hours and were conducted in Cantonese with a mixture of Mandarin and sometimes, a little bit of English. Most of the scripts were generally written in Chinese first before translating into English for Bruce’s easy reading and reference. However, it was the other way round sometimes. For instance, WOTD. Bruce wrote in English first but he thought some of the meanings were not right, so, got Ricky Chik to translate it into Chinese (source: Ricky Chik’s interview in WOTD special – 1972). Before Bruce’s death, some of the scripts done by Bruce and his scriptwriting team were completed but some were still in progress. Therefore, there should be notes/scripts, tape/voice recordings, or other records/materials left behind, most likely in the possession of Raymond Chow.

The list of scripts includes:

Completed & Filmed:
=================
1. Way of The Dragon (completed in 1972)

Completed but not filmed:
====================
1. The Green Bamboo Warrior ((aka The Conqueror of the Golden Mountain (San Francisco); Completed in end 1971) – Planned to be shot in San Francisco with the financial support from Warner Brothers.
2. Southern Fist, Northern Leg (aka Budo; Completed circa 1972) – portion of Bruce’s voice recording and illustrations/notes on the storyline were released in Bruce Lee, The Legend documentary (1984). – A martial arts movie story with great philosophical theme which Bruce intended to shoot probably in 1974.
3. Sai Fung (aka Little Phoenix; Completed circa 1972) – Period film. There is another script of the same title (modern melodrama film) written by Mdm Tang Neng (independent script writer hired by Leung Fung and Ricky Chik on behalf of Bruce) – The period movie was planned to be directed by Chor Yuen and the modern one Bruce planned to cast Josephine Siew Fung-Fung, a good friend from his childhood movie.

(Note: Except for the modern Sai Fung script which was retained by Mdm Tang Neng, Shannon Lee has a copy each of the above scripts and Raymond Chow should also has retained either the original or duplicate copies)

Incomplete:
=========
1. The Game of Death (’72 version; aka Yellow Faced Tiger/ Song of The Dark Night) – 1/3 was filmed by Bruce in 1972 (Note: As this was Bruce’s dream project, he might have kept a lot of the storyline to himself rather than revealing to his team and Raymond Chow, except maybe his close working buddy/ assistant director, Ricky Chik)

Miscellaneous:
=============
Scripts with Bruce’s contributions or completed by GH for Bruce:
1. Silent Flute – Written under the name of Stirling Silliphant with many contributions by Bruce and James Coburn. Completed by 1970. Bruce, Silliphant and Coburn scout locations in India, Pakistan and Nepal for several weeks in early 1971. It was made in 1979, redubbed, “Circle of Iron” starring David Carradine. Bruce and Coburn should have kept a copy of the script.
2. The Warrior – Shannon found many Bruce’s handwritten notes and his concept on this. It was made and redubbed, “Kung Fu,” starring David Carradine in 1972. Shannon would be working with Director, Justin Lin to remake this project.
3. Cold Faced Tiger (aka A Man Called Tiger) (GH script written specially for Bruce but he refused to play in that movie directed by Lo Wei; Jimmy Wang Yu replaced Bruce as the lead actor)
4. Hero of the city street (Another GH script written specially for Bruce as claimed by Lo Wei in his biography but was shelved due to Bruce reluctance to worked with Lo Wei. It has similar theme to Black Alley Princess)
5. Battle With The Black Panther (written by GH director Jeong Chang Hwa aka Cheng Chang-Ho. It was to be played by Bruce after GAME)
6. San Lung aka The Mystic Dragon - FBI Movie (written by GH & to be co-produced with Warner Bros; incomplete, later rename The Shrine of Ultimate Bliss/ Stoner, played by George Lazenby)

(Note: The above excludes those scripts completed by Shaw Brothers and other Movie Companies)

Photos of Bruce & scripts discussion (photoshopped): https://postimg.org/image/772ln3q25/

A group of GH Screenplay members could be seen in this 1978 Game of Death promotional documentary (with Bey Logan audio commentary):


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Joined: January 10th, 2009, 6:44 pm

November 1st, 2016, 10:37 am #2

Great stuff LJF like always!! nt
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Joined: May 6th, 2016, 3:35 am

November 1st, 2016, 10:40 am #3

Camera, Bruce Lee and His Scriptwriting Journey
====================================
Camera loves Bruce and vice-versa. Bruce's relationship with the film industry began with his first cameo appearance for the Golden Gate Girl when he was only 3 months old. He officially started filming since at a tender age of 6. After making over 20 childhood movies, he went abroad for further study. His last HK teenage film was “The Orphan” shot between late 1958 to early 1959. While studying in the University of Washington, some of his Gung Fu demos (circa between 1960-1963) in the campus were captured by the University staff’s 8mm camera. Then, Bruce also appeared with his students and Sifu Fook Young in the Seattle KCTS 9 TV program in early 1961 to promote his Gung Fu. Bruce then shot his Jun Fan Gung Fu training with Taky Kimura using his own 8mm home camera as early as 1963. Subsequently, Ed Parker captured Bruce’s demo in the 1964 Long Beach Karate Tournament. After witnessing this footage, William Dozier invited Bruce for the “Number 1 Son” audition in early 1965 which did not make it to the TV screen eventually. However, Bruce shot The Green Hornet TV series from 1966-67. From then onwards, Bruce rekindles the flame with the film industry. The rest is history.

Besides working in front of the camera, Bruce also loved to work behind the camera. Not only drawings, Bruce was good in writing too. As early as 1966, Bruce had already started to write plots for The Green Hornet. According to The Green Hornet’s researcher, Martin Grams, Bruce wrote 13-page plot proposal for a Hornet’s episode but there’s only plot proposal submitted by Bruce that never made it to production. The title was “The Cobra From The East” dated Oct 28, 1966. Probably, this might be the beginning of Bruce's journey in writing TV series/movies plot, which contributed to his strong foundation in writing movie scripts later on, such as The Warrior, Silent Flute, Green Bamboo Warrior, Southern Fist, Northern Legs and The Game of Death etc. Especially Silent Flute, Bruce was particularly excited to make this movie. So, he formed a trio script writing group with Stirling Silliphant and James Coburn in 1969. They would meet and discuss about the script many times from 1969-1970. However, the plan of filming Silent Flute was cancelled in early 1971. Then, Bruce worked on a story called “The Warrior” which he initially thought he would play the main lead. But the TV station got David Carradine to play “The Warrior” which was later re-titled “Kung Fu” in late 1971. Bruce was disappointed but then concentrated his film career in HK.

After completing FOF in early Dec 1971, Bruce started to write script by himself (source: HK Commercial Press, Dec 71). By end 1971, he and Raymond Chow founded Concorde Production Company. To Bruce, it’s a dream come true. He wanted to produce top quality martial arts movies and to do so, he knew first of all, he ought to have good scripts. Hence, immediately after establishing Concorde, Bruce formed his own GH/Concorde’s scriptwriting team (about 6-7 members including his assistant director Ricky Chik. Other possible members include Hoh Seung-Ling, Kuang Chih-Chung, Louis Sit Chi-Hung, Mao Lu, David Chan and Benson Cheng Bing-Sam).

The team headed by Bruce, used to hold regular meetings in GH’s office located at Tong Eng Building and occasionally at Bruce’s house. They discussed and brainstormed ideas for new scripts and Bruce would often tape record the storyline (source: “Bruce Lee, The Legend” - 1984). The discussions usually took about 3 hours and were conducted in Cantonese with a mixture of Mandarin and sometimes, a little bit of English. Most of the scripts were generally written in Chinese first before translating into English for Bruce’s easy reading and reference. However, it was the other way round sometimes. For instance, WOTD. Bruce wrote in English first but he thought some of the meanings were not right, so, got Ricky Chik to translate it into Chinese (source: Ricky Chik’s interview in WOTD special – 1972). Before Bruce’s death, some of the scripts done by Bruce and his scriptwriting team were completed but some were still in progress. Therefore, there should be notes/scripts, tape/voice recordings, or other records/materials left behind, most likely in the possession of Raymond Chow.

The list of scripts includes:

Completed & Filmed:
=================
1. Way of The Dragon (completed in 1972)

Completed but not filmed:
====================
1. The Green Bamboo Warrior ((aka The Conqueror of the Golden Mountain (San Francisco); Completed in end 1971) – Planned to be shot in San Francisco with the financial support from Warner Brothers.
2. Southern Fist, Northern Leg (aka Budo; Completed circa 1972) – portion of Bruce’s voice recording and illustrations/notes on the storyline were released in Bruce Lee, The Legend documentary (1984). – A martial arts movie story with great philosophical theme which Bruce intended to shoot probably in 1974.
3. Sai Fung (aka Little Phoenix; Completed circa 1972) – Period film. There is another script of the same title (modern melodrama film) written by Mdm Tang Neng (independent script writer hired by Leung Fung and Ricky Chik on behalf of Bruce) – The period movie was planned to be directed by Chor Yuen and the modern one Bruce planned to cast Josephine Siew Fung-Fung, a good friend from his childhood movie.

(Note: Except for the modern Sai Fung script which was retained by Mdm Tang Neng, Shannon Lee has a copy each of the above scripts and Raymond Chow should also has retained either the original or duplicate copies)

Incomplete:
=========
1. The Game of Death (’72 version; aka Yellow Faced Tiger/ Song of The Dark Night) – 1/3 was filmed by Bruce in 1972 (Note: As this was Bruce’s dream project, he might have kept a lot of the storyline to himself rather than revealing to his team and Raymond Chow, except maybe his close working buddy/ assistant director, Ricky Chik)

Miscellaneous:
=============
Scripts with Bruce’s contributions or completed by GH for Bruce:
1. Silent Flute – Written under the name of Stirling Silliphant with many contributions by Bruce and James Coburn. Completed by 1970. Bruce, Silliphant and Coburn scout locations in India, Pakistan and Nepal for several weeks in early 1971. It was made in 1979, redubbed, “Circle of Iron” starring David Carradine. Bruce and Coburn should have kept a copy of the script.
2. The Warrior – Shannon found many Bruce’s handwritten notes and his concept on this. It was made and redubbed, “Kung Fu,” starring David Carradine in 1972. Shannon would be working with Director, Justin Lin to remake this project.
3. Cold Faced Tiger (aka A Man Called Tiger) (GH script written specially for Bruce but he refused to play in that movie directed by Lo Wei; Jimmy Wang Yu replaced Bruce as the lead actor)
4. Hero of the city street (Another GH script written specially for Bruce as claimed by Lo Wei in his biography but was shelved due to Bruce reluctance to worked with Lo Wei. It has similar theme to Black Alley Princess)
5. Battle With The Black Panther (written by GH director Jeong Chang Hwa aka Cheng Chang-Ho. It was to be played by Bruce after GAME)
6. San Lung aka The Mystic Dragon - FBI Movie (written by GH & to be co-produced with Warner Bros; incomplete, later rename The Shrine of Ultimate Bliss/ Stoner, played by George Lazenby)

(Note: The above excludes those scripts completed by Shaw Brothers and other Movie Companies)

Photos of Bruce & scripts discussion (photoshopped): https://postimg.org/image/772ln3q25/

A group of GH Screenplay members could be seen in this 1978 Game of Death promotional documentary (with Bey Logan audio commentary):

Another great stuff, thanks LJF.

LJF, I would like to know the following:

1) Do the footage of Bruce's Gung Fu demo in UOW and Seattle KCTS 9 TV program still exist?

2) Do the scripts written by Bruce as mentioned above still exist? Also, where are all the recordings of Bruce and his scriptwriting team?
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Joined: September 21st, 2015, 3:56 am

November 1st, 2016, 4:28 pm #4

First time heard of that though.

That would be great to watch if it exists but don't pin too much hope!
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LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

November 2nd, 2016, 6:33 am #5

Another great stuff, thanks LJF.

LJF, I would like to know the following:

1) Do the footage of Bruce's Gung Fu demo in UOW and Seattle KCTS 9 TV program still exist?

2) Do the scripts written by Bruce as mentioned above still exist? Also, where are all the recordings of Bruce and his scriptwriting team?
Hi Wira,

1) Regarding the footage:

1a) Bruce’s Gung Fu teaching was so popular in the university campus that UOW decided to open an extra-curriculum class on this new Oriental martial arts/ self-defense skills which was like Karate in some ways. There was an article in the school magazine or newspaper that reported this piece of news. The University then got the student committee members to shoot several Bruce’s demo footage to be shown to the students so as to encourage the interested ones to join the Gung Fu class/ club. Extensive search has been carried out to locate this footage by some HK BL historians, U.S. BL collector JR Goodman etc. over the years. However, the University told them they had none of the above footage as it was most likely being destroyed many decades ago.

1b) As for Bruce’s 2 TV Gung Fu demo footage with his students and Master Fook Yeung in early 1961, the Seattle KCTS already repeatedly claimed that they re-used the tape due to its limited stock and expensiveness in the 60s. They didn’t know Bruce would become a superstar 10 years later otherwise they would surely keep this precious footage. By that saying, Bruce’s original Seattle TV footage was definitely wiped. On the other hand, BL historian DT mentioned before that Taky Kimura or another Seatttle student remembered Bruce got them to film directly from the TV screen using the old 8mm home camera when the show was screened. This act was quite similar to Bruce getting someone to film his 1970 HKTVB April appearance in the studio or off the screen. It was Bruce’s habit of recording his Gung Fu activities. As for the whereabouts of this 8mm Bruce’s KCTS taped footage, it should be with the Estate unless Linda had thrown them away accidentally while clearing the unused stuff in the earlier days as Robert Lee recalled.


2) Regarding the script/recordoings:

Did you read the whole article? The answer is there. The scripts written by Bruce as mentioned above exist. All the recordings of Bruce and his scriptwriting teams are scattered among several parties, i.e. the Estate, Raymond Chow's GH and probably few script team members. I'm telling you what I know. Hope this helps.
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Joined: May 6th, 2016, 3:35 am

November 2nd, 2016, 10:22 am #6

Appreciate it.
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Jon
Jon

November 2nd, 2016, 5:15 pm #7

Hi Wira,

1) Regarding the footage:

1a) Bruce’s Gung Fu teaching was so popular in the university campus that UOW decided to open an extra-curriculum class on this new Oriental martial arts/ self-defense skills which was like Karate in some ways. There was an article in the school magazine or newspaper that reported this piece of news. The University then got the student committee members to shoot several Bruce’s demo footage to be shown to the students so as to encourage the interested ones to join the Gung Fu class/ club. Extensive search has been carried out to locate this footage by some HK BL historians, U.S. BL collector JR Goodman etc. over the years. However, the University told them they had none of the above footage as it was most likely being destroyed many decades ago.

1b) As for Bruce’s 2 TV Gung Fu demo footage with his students and Master Fook Yeung in early 1961, the Seattle KCTS already repeatedly claimed that they re-used the tape due to its limited stock and expensiveness in the 60s. They didn’t know Bruce would become a superstar 10 years later otherwise they would surely keep this precious footage. By that saying, Bruce’s original Seattle TV footage was definitely wiped. On the other hand, BL historian DT mentioned before that Taky Kimura or another Seatttle student remembered Bruce got them to film directly from the TV screen using the old 8mm home camera when the show was screened. This act was quite similar to Bruce getting someone to film his 1970 HKTVB April appearance in the studio or off the screen. It was Bruce’s habit of recording his Gung Fu activities. As for the whereabouts of this 8mm Bruce’s KCTS taped footage, it should be with the Estate unless Linda had thrown them away accidentally while clearing the unused stuff in the earlier days as Robert Lee recalled.


2) Regarding the script/recordoings:

Did you read the whole article? The answer is there. The scripts written by Bruce as mentioned above exist. All the recordings of Bruce and his scriptwriting teams are scattered among several parties, i.e. the Estate, Raymond Chow's GH and probably few script team members. I'm telling you what I know. Hope this helps.
Shame, University demo footage & Seattle footage were destroyed. (NT)
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