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Cinemax Grabs Martial Arts Series ‘Warrior’ From ‘Banshee’ Creator

Cinemax has picked up the straight-to-series drama Warrior, which is inspired by an idea from Bruce Lee and created by Banshee creator Jonathan Tropper. Production on the series starts this fall in Cape Town, South Africa. The first season features 10 episodes. 

Along with Tropper, Justin Lin and Danielle Woodrow will executive produce, on behalf of Perfect Storm Entertainment, and Shannon Lee will executive produce for Bruce Lee Entertainment.

Warrior follows in the spirit of the tradition of adrenalized Cinemax dramas that we established with Strike Back and Banshee,” said Kary Antholis, president, HBO Miniseries and Cinemax Programming. “We are brimming with excitement for this unique martial arts series combining Bruce Lee’s inspired conception with the immense storytelling talents of Jonathan Tropper and Justin Lin.”

Warrior is a crime drama set during the brutal Tong Wars of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the second half of the 19th century. The series follows Ah Sahm, a martial arts prodigy who moves from China to San Francisco under mysterious circumstances and becomes a hatchet man for one of Chinatown’s most powerful crime families.

“As a show that proudly bears the imprimatur of Bruce Lee, it’s our intention to deliver not only explosive martial arts action–which we will–but also a powerful and complex immigration drama that is as relevant today as it was in the 1870s,” said Tropper.

Warrior is produced by Perfect Storm Entertainment, Tropper Ink Productions and Bruce Lee Entertainment. 

“I’ve always admired Bruce Lee for his trailblazing efforts opening doors for Asians in entertainment and beyond,” said Lin. “So I was intrigued when Danielle told me about the urban legend of his never-produced idea for a TV show and suggested we bring it to life. Then, when Shannon shared with us her father’s writings–rich with Lee’s unique philosophies on life, and through a point of view rarely depicted on screen–Danielle and I knew that Perfect Storm had to make it.”

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.