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A little-known true-life martial arts story is on the path to the big screen.
The Mark Gordon Company, the veteran production banner whose credits range from Saving Private Ryan to the upcoming remake of Murder on the Orient Express, is developing the story of Dan Inosanto, the protege of martial arts master Bruce Lee.
Inosanto was a key instrument in a secret training program that led the 1976 Dallas Cowboys to win Super Bowl XII.
Jeremy Gough wrote the script that was picked up by MGC, which also picked up the life rights to Inosanto.
MGC’s Mark Gordon and Matt Jackson will produce the film along with Diana Lee Inosanto, Inosanto’s daughter and Lee’s goddaughter. Tarik Heitmann is also producing.
Sam Sleiman, Ron Balicki and Adam Goldworm will executive produce.
Inosanto was Lee’s teacher, training partner and protege who ran and taught his trainings. He, like Lee, also made inroads into movies and Hollywood, appearing in films but also reportedly over the decades instructing notables such as Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker and Ricky Nelson.
In the mid-1970s, a conditioning coach named Dr. Bob Ward created a stealth program that involved then up-and-coming linesman Randy White, with Inosanto being the key ingredient in the training. Inosanto’s involvement is said to have been key to the Cowboys’ success on the road to the Super Bowl. (Incidentally, 1976 seems to be a magic year for the setting of inspirational sports movies, as Rocky and Mark Wahlberg’s Invincible are set in those years.)
Gough is a Texan and lifelong Cowboys fan who recently penned the screenplay for the thriller feature A Forest of Mirrors. He is repped by Paradigm, Aperture Entertainment, and Stone Genow.
MGC’s Joanne Lee will oversee the project on behalf of the company.
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