Since the release of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” director Quentin Tarantino has been outspoken about his depiction of Bruce Lee (portrayed by Mike Moh) as an arrogant figure. The portrayal has received blowback from Lee’s fans and his daughter, Shannon Lee, as being inaccurate.
While promoting the novelization of his 2019 film on the Joe Rogan Podcast, Tarantino said, “I can understand his daughter having a problem with it. It’s her fucking father, alright, I get that. Everybody else: Go suck a dick.”
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In the film, there is a fight scene on the set of “The Green Hornet” between Lee and stuntman Cliff Booth, played by Oscar winner Brad Pitt, where the two men spar. Tarantino said the film makes it “obvious that Cliff tricked him” and won the fight, adding that the scene is further explained in his new book.
“He gives Bruce no resistance whatsoever and Bruce knocks Cliff on his ass,” Tarantino said. “There are four different ways Bruce could’ve come at him the second time, and Cliff would’ve had little defense. But most of the time if a guy has a particular move and it looks like the other dude is a big mouth who can’t defend himself, they do the first move again a second time. But now Cliff knows what it is. He prepares for it and throws [Bruce’s] ass into the car. He just tricked him. Bruce realizes he got tricked.”
Tarantino says that the stuntmen hated Lee on the set of “The Green Hornet,” citing Matthew Polly’s book about Lee for reference.
“Bruce had nothing but disrespect for stuntmen,” Tarantino said. “He was always hitting them with his feet, he was always tagging — it’s called tagging when you hit a stuntman for real. And he was always tagging them with his feet, he was always tagging them with his fist, and it got to be the point where, ‘I refuse to work with him.’ And he had nothing but disrespect for American stuntmen.”
Shannon Lee responded to Tarantino’s comments about her father back in 2019 when the director was doing press for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”
“He could shut up about it,” Lee told Variety when asked how the director could rectify the controversy. “That would be really nice. Or he could apologize or he could say, ‘I don’t really know what Bruce Lee was like. I just wrote it for my movie. But that shouldn’t be taken as how he really was.’”
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