China’s National Film Capital fund is set to pour more than $200 million into an ambitious schedule of films. There are a lot of cool titles, including Stan Lee’s The Annihilator, but there is one that is especially eye catching. Why is it so noticeable, you might ask? Because of the writer, who was none other than martial arts icon Bruce Lee.
The Silent Flute is often referred to as Bruce Lee’s “lost” movie. The unfinished script was written by Lee and a pair of his more famous martial arts students: James Coburn and In the Heat of the Night screenwriter Sterling Silliphant. The story is set 800 years in the future, where a young adventurer embarks on an epic quest across the post-apocalyptic wastes, to a city that may have survived the destruction.
The film is casting “casting two male leads from China and Hollywood,” has the blessing of Lee’s widow and daughter, and has procured a $25 million budget.
In 1978 the script was loosely, emphasis on loosely, adapted into Circle of Iron with David Carradine. The story is heavy on the martial arts, but also rather dense with Lee’s other love, philosophy. He uses the fantasy/sci-fi set up as a basis to establish the differences between Eastern and Western ways of thinking, and includes references to the Quran.
Lee abandoned the project, but Coburn and Silliphant finished the script after his death. Some of the violence was replaced with comedy. The Silent Flute should go into production sometime next year.