The documentary traces Lee’s rise to fame as the greatest martial artist of all time as well as the racism he faced when he arrived in Hollywood. In 1971, realizing that America was not ready for an Asian hero, he returned to Hong Kong and completed four of his most iconic films. Watch the first trailer below.
“Bruce Lee is the epitome of the American story,” director Bao Nguyen said in a statement. “Like him and so many other Americans before, my family, as Vietnamese war refugees, left their familiar homeland looking for a better future for themselves. It’s a side of Bruce’s story that isn’t always emphasized. I hope by the end of the film, audiences have learned something new. Not just about Bruce Lee but also how America has treated the ‘other’ in the past.”
“Be Water” features interviews with Lee’s closest family and friends, as well as fellow martial arts greats like Tony Liu and Dan Inosanto and onetime student Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. “He felt that everybody in the world might have a little bit to contribute to the canon of martial arts,” the latter says in the trailer.
“Be Water” premieres on June 7 at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN2.