‘Warrior’: Shannon Lee, Justin Lin Talk Bruce Lee, The Series & Legacy

Warrior Andrew Koji Bruce Lee

Warrior Andrew Koji Justin Lin Shannon Lee Jonathan Tropper Bruce LeeShannon Lee, Justin Lin and Jonathan Tropper are ready to send a message with Warrior, a series based off of an original concept from Bruce Lee.

Warrior premiered on Cinemax this past Friday and it touches on a ton of subjects still relevant today. The series was inspired by an original concept from Bruce Lee and it’s pretty good from what I’ve seen so far. We recently had the opportunity to chat with Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon Lee and executive producers Justin Lin and Jonathan Tropper, and they gave us an inside look on what the show means and how hard it was to get it off the ground.

Nathaniel Brail: The role was originally intended for Bruce Lee, so when you cast Andrew Koji, did you look at him to embody Bruce Lee or was it just for the role?

Shannon Lee: Well, we definitely wanted him to embody the role more than anything because it’s an impossible task to ask somebody to be Bruce Lee, so we didn’t want to put that on him. My father’s philosophy is that you actualize as a human, so we should all walk our own paths. We’re not here to copy anyone else, but certainly we were just looking for somebody who could move, who could act… Andrew’s got this great soulfulness to him and he really dived in there, and I think he does a great job and looks phenomenal.

Nathaniel Brail: Was there anything else that you took from Bruce Lee? Like a fighting style?

Shannon Lee: Yeah, for sure. So the action is really thoughtful in the way that it is done and we definitely wanted to do little homages to my father throughout the show in many different ways, so if you’re a die hard Bruce Lee fan, as the series progresses you’ll see all the little Easter eggs that are planted in there, including the fighting style. Even in the pilot, he does the hands the way my father held them and certainly the journey of the main character over the long arc of the show is for him to evolve as a true warrior and to learn how to mature in that way because that’s not how he starts out. Even though he can fight and kick ass, mentally, emotionally and spiritually he’s not quite there yet. But, in terms of the world, I mean certainly there are characters who are more well-versed in kung fu and they are martial artists. But not everybody’s a martial artist. There are people who have hatchets and knives and there’s the Irish men who are boxing in that old style. So, we wanted to really have each character have their signature and not everybody just doing kung fu because that’s the world we’re in.

Nathaniel Brail: You’ve done big budget films like most of the Fast and Furious movies and Star Trek Beyond. How different is bringing Bruce Lee’s work to life and did you feel any pressure to honor his legacy?

Justin Lin: Oh, there was a lot of pressure, but in a good way. That’s why I was saying that I wanted to make sure that… I didn’t want to… there were times on this and the development on this took a while and there were times where I was ready to shut it down. Again, I didn’t have to make this and until we found the right partner, I didn’t want to continue, and so part of this process that I enjoy and I treasure is the discussions ya know — it’s how we were able to build it. When Jonathan came on to have the right conversation about how we were gonna build it when we cast… that was another point where I was like ‘if we don’t create the right process and no one comes in and takes it, let’s not do it.’ It’s a luxury. I didn’t think this project needed to exist unless we had the right partner.

Nathaniel Brail: Did you always intend for the series to be as gory and as bloody as it was?

Jonathan Tropper: Do you think it’s gory?

Nathaniel Brail: I think it’s gory.

Jonathan Tropper: I mean my last show was like that as well. I think part of embracing the pulp style is to find that balance and to sort of celebrate a little bit of this stuff more conventional dramas have glossed over. And at the same time, we want the martial arts to be consequential. Martial Arts have become a little bit sterile on television lately where people throw a lot of kicks and punches and no one seems to really be getting hurt. So we want to see that. Legs break, arms break, knuckles break, noses break. We made sure that all that was being represented in our fights.

What do you think about Shannon Lee, Justin Lin and Jonathan Tropper’s comments? Will you tune into Warrior? Are you a Bruce Lee fan? Let us know in the comments!

The CINEMAX drama series WARRIOR begins its ten-episode season FRIDAY, APRIL 5 (10:00–11:00 p.m. ET/PT), it was announced today by Kary Antholis, president, HBO Mini-series and CINEMAX Programming. Filmed in Cape Town, South Africa, the show is based on writings of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, and created and executive produced by Jonathan Tropper (CINEMAX’s “Banshee”) under Tropper Ink Productions and Justin Lin on behalf of Perfect Storm Entertainment.

WARRIOR is a gritty, action-packed crime drama set during the brutal Tong Wars of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the second half of the 19th century. The series follows Ah Sahm, a martial arts prodigy who emigrates from China to San Francisco under mysterious circumstances and becomes a hatchet man for one of Chinatown’s most powerful tongs (Chinese organized crime family).

Led by Andrew Koji, who plays Ah Sahm, series regulars also include Kieran Bew, Olivia Cheng, Dianne Doan, Dean Jagger, Langley Kirkwood, Hoon Lee, Christian McKay, Joe Taslim, Jason Tobin, Joanna Vanderham, Tom Weston-Jones and Perry Yung.

WARRIOR is produced for CINEMAX by Perfect Storm Entertainment, Tropper Ink Productions and Bruce Lee Entertainment; created and executive produced by Jonathan Tropper. Justin Lin and Danielle Woodrow executive produce on behalf of Perfect Storm Entertainment. Shannon Lee executive produces for Bruce Lee Entertainment. 

Executive produced by Brad Kane and co-executive produced by Richard Sharkey. Pilot was executive produced by Assaf Bernstein.”

Warrior airs Fridays at 10pm on Cinemax.

Top Actors To Replace Ben Affleck In Matt Reeves’ ‘The Batman’

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Batman Ben Affleck Matt ReevesBen Affleck is officially out as Batman and it's a pretty sad day.

Words cannot describe how sad I am to see Ben Affleck announce that he's no longer Batman. His Batman is why I do what I do. In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, I fell in love with his comic book-accurate interpretation of the Caped Crusader. It was a breath of fresh air and it felt like we finally had the one true Batman.

Three years have quickly sped by and we're officially going to receive a new Batman for his next movie. Last night, Ben Affleck announced that he will not return as the Dark Knight in Matt Reeves' The Batman and now everyone's attention has moved towards wanting to know who the next Bruce Wayne will be. Matt Reeves is said to want an actor that's around 20 years younger than Affleck while Warner Bros. wants someone older. My guess is that Reeves wants a fresh start while the studio wants an older actor for crossover potential.

In this list, I will discuss the actors I think can replace Ben Affleck as Batman using the parameters that Matt Reeves and Warner Bros. want. Hit Next to see our picks to play the Batman.

Michael Fassbender

Michael Fassbender X-Men

Michael Fassbender is an X-Men alum and no stranger to comic book franchises. The actor has shown multiple levels of range and could definitely handle the Batman/Bruce Wayne personality. If they go with the older range for the next Dark Knight, then Fassbender is probably one of the best choices to take over the role.

Ben Barnes

The Punisher Ben Barnes Billy Russo Jigsaw Marvel

Ben Barnes is out of a job after The Punisher season 2 and he's one of the best actors in that series. The second season tied up Barnes' arc on The Punisher and the actor has already told us that that he'd love to play the Caped Crusader. Barnes definitely has the pretty boy look going on for him and I wonder what his take on Bruce Wayne could be.

Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling Blade Runner 2049

I've said this before and I'll say it again: Ryan Gosling needs to star in a superhero movie. I've always thought Gosling would make a great Batman. Every role that he's done has shown us his capability and he could crush it as Bruce Wayne.

Jon Hamm

Jon Hamm Mad Men

Jon Hamm is my top choice for an older Batman. If Warner Bros. wants to cast an older actor for crossover potential, Jon Hamm is the studio's best bet. He has a similar look to Ben Affleck, and c'mon, the guy's look just screams Bruce Wayne.

Armie Hammer

Armie Hammer The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Armie Hammer is 32 years old and was cast as the Caped Crusader in George Miller's Justice League: Mortal. That film will never see the light of day, but that doesn’t mean that Hammer doesn't deserve a second shot at being the Batman. He's charming, broody and will probably give his all for this role. Armie Hammer is a great option because he's young enough for Matt Reeves and Warner Bros. could work in a way for him to crossover with the rest of the DC Extended Universe.

Richard Madden

Richard Madden Bodyguard

Game of Thrones alum Richard Madden is my top choice to replace Ben Affleck as Batman. The actor is young, has the look and definitely has the acting chops to play the duality of Batman and Bruce Wayne. Madden just won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television series for the BBC drama Bodyguard, so Warner Bros. may want to quickly snatch him up.

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Nathaniel Brail

Nathaniel Brail

Running things at HH. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @NateBrail