Ip Man 3 just introduced two interesting additions to its cast. Former heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson is coming aboard, and will fight the legendary Donnie Yen, who reprises his role as the title character. If that wasn't cool and/or weird enough for you, the filmmakers also plan to utilize a CG version of Bruce Lee as opposed to having an actor portray the Kung Fu legend.
Ip Man 3 begins shooting today in Shanghia, China on a reported budget of $36 million. Wilson Yip, who directed Ip Man and Ip Man 2, returns to helm this latest installment in the popular international action franchise. Producer Raymond Wong and writer Edmond Wong are also back for this third and possibly, but not likely, last movie. Pegasus chairman and Ip Man 3 producer Raymond Wong stated to THR:
"Two years ago Mike Tyson opened up a Weibo [the Chinese microblogging site] account and the first question he asked was, 'Who is the best fighter in China?' Someone answered him 'Donnie Yen,' and that gave me an idea. For the third installment in the Ip Man series, we want to have an explosive fight, and Mike Tyson versus Donnie Yen fits the bill."
Mike Tyson released his own statement, saying:
"Who is the best boxer and kung fu master in China? Wait for me, I am coming. Thank you for introducing me to Chinese kung fu."
The story of Ip Man follows a Chinese martial artists who lived from 1893 to 1972. The man popularized the fighting style of Wing Chun, a technique that specializes in close-range combat. His most famous pupil was Bruce Lee, who would later go onto develop his own discipline called Jeet Kune Do. Born in Foshan, Guangdong, China, Ip moved to Hong Kong and opened Wing Chun school in 1949. This will be the first of the sequels to feature Bruce Lee as himself. The producers of the film were unable to find an actor that could portray the kung fu legend's intensity on screen, which is why they are going the CG route, hoping to recreate the most authentic Bruce Lee possible.
Mike Tyson has a substantial role in the movie, playing a property developer who is also a vicious street fighter. Ip Man 3 will be released in theaters across the world in 2016, and will be presented in 3D. There were a number of other Ip movies released in the past few years, including The Legend Is Born - IP Man and Ip Man: The Final Fight. Producer Wong feels the fad has died down a bit, which is why now is the prefect time to return. He states proudly:
"The audience suffered Ip Man fatigue for a while, but the waves of Ip Man films has calmed down now, so now is the time to present our third installment!"