Kim Bum is first Korean actor to star as legendary martial artist Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee is the American-born star whose legacy in bringing Chinese martial arts to a global audience still impacts us today. After his tragic death at a young age of 32 in 1973, there have been many actors emulating his style or even playing him in biopics. Now, Kim Bum (Boys Over Flowers) will be the first Korean actor to play Bruce Lee. How did it happen?
It's been confirmed by Kim Bum's agency, King Kong Entertainment, that the hot Korean actor will be playing Bruce Lee in a new Chinese drama, Ip Man and Bruce Lee.
The decision to select a Korean actor to play the legendary Chinese-American star and martial artist has led to some controversy. Kim Bum beat out top contenders such as Li Yifeng, Yang Yang, Wallace Huo, Kevin Cheng, and William Chan.
However, director and producer Pan Xiaotian said, "Bruce Lee belongs to all nations. People from all over the world admire and follow his ideals. Why is it necessary to only find a Chinese actor to play Bruce Lee?" Pan continued, "The moment I saw Kim Bum, I felt he would be perfect to play Bruce Lee. I recognized a similarity in his inner qualities."
It turned out that Kim Bum has been a Bruce Lee fan since childhood. It was also serendipitous that when Pan Xiaotian visited the Busan International Film Festival, a friend recommended Kim Bum, who also has previous filming experience in China with roles in the movies Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon, Lovers & Movies, and The Beloved.
Kim Bum has been known to do almost anything, such as drastically losing weight, to train for a special role. Even before the decision to choose him was finalized, he already started training 3 hours a day. His agent revealed that he is beefing up on his research by reading books and articles about Bruce Lee and watching Lee's movies again.
I remember being very impressed by Kim Bum's action chops and powerful kicks in the recent thriller drama Hidden Identity, and it seems a natural match for Kim Bum to play Bruce Lee. I can't wait to see him in the new role. Ip Man and Bruce Lee starts filming in October and is estimated to take 3 months to complete.
Watch Kim Bum in Hidden Identity: