Warrior Producers Explain How Bruce Lee Influenced Multiple Characters


In the opening credits of each episode of the Max series Warrior, viewers are reminded that it is "based on the writings of Bruce Lee." The concept for the show, now recognized as Warrior, was conceived by the late screen icon during the peak of his career. Originally, Lee intended to star in the series himself, but circumstances did not align accordingly. However, decades later, Warrior has become a celebrated success, and Lee's influence is evident throughout the show. Shannon Lee, his daughter, serves as an executive producer, and multiple characters are inspired by Lee's persona and career.

Ah Sahm, the lead protagonist of the series, is the character originally envisioned by Lee for his own portrayal. Andrew Koji's character shares numerous similarities with Lee, as does Li Yong, the quiet yet formidable Long Zii officer portrayed by Joe Taslim. Jonathan Tropper, an executive producer, recently shared with ComicBook.com how Lee served as a foundation for more than one character.

"We specifically wrote the role of Li Yong for Joe Taslim," Tropper revealed. "Justin Lin, our executive producer, was particularly impressed by Joe's ability to move like Bruce Lee, and he possessed a certain essence that resonated with Bruce Lee even more than Andrew Koji. While Andrew Koji, standing at six feet one inch with long limbs, may not embody Bruce Lee's physicality in those aspects, Justin inspired us to expand the influence of Bruce Lee beyond Koji's character."

"And there are moments when we do. We definitely have Joe, certainly in his fight movement and sometimes just in his cocky raise of an eyebrow or tilt of his head, we definitely have Joe embodying some of that Bruce Lee swagger as well. And we think there's enough to go around if anyone else wants a piece, too. And it's really important."

Tropper emphasized the significance of ensuring that Andrew Koji did not simply imitate Bruce Lee when portraying Ah Sahm. While Ah Sahm was the character originally created by Lee for himself, the intention was to develop a unique interpretation specifically tailored to Koji for this series.

"It was crucial for us to ground Koji in the character without asking him to imitate Bruce Lee," Tropper clarified. "We didn't want a Bruce Lee imitation. We wanted him to find the essence of the character. Once he found the character, he had the freedom to incorporate certain movements, moments, nods to the camera, and elements that evoked the spirit of Bruce Lee. Both he and Joe have their own distinct approaches, but they both have equal ownership of these aspects."

Big Action in Warrior Season 3

In anticipation of Season 3, Jason Tobin, the star of Warrior, teased an exhilarating and emotionally charged fight scene that is sure to excite fans.

"I have a personal favorite fight scene from Season 3, but I can't reveal too much about it," Tobin shared. "However, I can tell you why I enjoyed it so much, and I hope that when the audience watches it, they will understand. While there have been many incredible scenes and fight sequences throughout Warrior, what stood out to me in Season 3 was that we had all been through this process before. We were collaborating with the same teams, and there was a sense of shorthand and familiarity in our work together. It took the collaboration to another level, combining not just the choreography and writing, but also the acting, resulting in a fight scene that becomes more than the sum of its parts."

He further elaborated, saying, "Working with the actors was just as important as working with the choreographers and stunt performers. It truly became a harmonious collaboration among different departments, representing the best of filmmaking, in my opinion."

Be sure to catch new episodes of Warrior, streaming on Max every Thursday.

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