ESPN’s latest documentary, Be Water, follows the life of Bruce Lee, the legendary martial artist and actor whose career and teachings led to a wider acceptance of people of Asian descent in cinema.
The documentary takes viewers though various aspect of Lee’s journey, from being rejected by Hollywood early on to his eventual rise to prominence as one of history’s most iconic martial artists.
The film begins with Lee’s early life – he was the son of a Chinese opera star born while his father was on tour in San Francisco, and was later raised in Hong Kong. After a troubled childhood, he was sent to live in America at the age of 18 where he began teaching Kung Fu. Lee made his way to Los Angeles, where he worked to break into film and television. In those early days, it was obvious Hollywood wasn’t ready for an Asian leading man — and so he returned to Hong Kong to make the films that would in fact make him a legend. But just as his star began to rise, his life was tragically cut short.