To backtrack, when the movie first came out, Lee’s daughter condemned her father’s appearance in the film and the way they utilized his character.
“I understand they want to make the Brad Pitt character this super bad-ass who could beat up Bruce Lee. But they didn’t need to treat him in the way that white Hollywood did when he was alive,” Shannon Lee told the Wrap. “He comes across as an arrogant asshole who was full of hot air. And not someone who had to fight triple as hard as any of those people did to accomplish what was naturally given to so many others.”
When Lee saw the film, she said it was “really uncomfortable to sit in the theater and listen to people laugh at my father”. She was apparently not given a script in advance like Sharon Tate’s sister was.
“He’s the one with all the puffery and he’s the one challenging Brad Pitt. Which is not how he was,” she said. “What I’m interested in is raising the consciousness of who Bruce Lee was as a human being and how he lived his life. All of that was flushed down the toilet in this portrayal, and made my father into this arrogant punching bag.”
Despite her feelings about the character, she praised Mike Moh for the performance he gave in the film.
“He was directed to be a caricature,” she said she believes.
After her statements, Tarantino defended the performance, as did Moh.
“Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy. The way he was talking, I didn’t just make a lot of that up,” Tarantino said. “I heard him say things like that to that effect. If people are saying, ‘Well, he never said he could beat up Muhammad Ali,’ yeah, he did. Alright? Not only did he say that but his wife, Linda Lee, said that in her first biography I ever read.”
However, Lee wasn’t going to let him make those comments without any repercussion and further shamed him.
“He could shut up about it,” she told Variety. “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.’ One of the things that’s troubling in his response is that, on the one hand, he wants to put this forward as fact and, on the other hand, he wants to stay in fiction.”
She did make a point to say that her father was not a perfect man and that Tarantino had the right to do whatever he wants in his own fictional movie.
You can see a photo of Moh’s character below.
— Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (@OnceInHollywood) July 25, 2019
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is the ninth film from Quentin Tarantino and uses the Manson Family murders as a backdrop.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood takes place in 1969 in Los Angeles and stars Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead roles. As previously reported, DiCaprio plays Rick Dalton, a “former star of a western TV series.” Pitt is Cliff Booth, who is Dalton’s “longtime stunt double.” The two characters are “struggling to make it in a Hollywood they don’t recognize anymore. But Rick has a very famous next-door neighbor… Sharon Tate.”
The films cast also includes Al Pacino, Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell, Lena Dunham, Dakota Fanning and many more.
Charles Manson, who died back in November, was the leader of the Manson Family, a murderous cult. The cult was connected with the murders of actress Tate, who was pregnant at the time. Also, they allegedly murdered several others in Los Angeles during July and August of 1969.
The film was released last month. It was initially set to appear in theaters on August 9, the 50th anniversary of the murder of Tate and her friends. However, it was moved to avoid possible controversy.
Check out the trailer below.
What do you think about Quentin Tarantino defending Bruce Lee’s portrayal in the film? Sound off in the comments down below!