Quentin Tarantino, director of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, has finally broken his silence on the film's controversial portrayal of the late Bruce Lee.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood shows Lee (played by Mike Moh) as a bit of an arrogant showboat. Many took issue with this depiction of the beloved actor/martial artist, including his daughter Shannon Lee. Tarantino rebutted such criticisms while speaking at a press conference in Moscow. "Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy," he said. "The way he was talking, I didn't just make a lot of that up. I heard him say things like that, to that effect."
Tarantino commented on a specific a line from the film, in which Moh's Lee says he could take legendary boxer Muhammad Ali in a fight. "People are saying, 'Well, he never said he could beat up Muhammad Ali.' Uh, yeah he did," Tarantino asserted. The director cites the biography Bruce Lee: The Man Only I Knew, which was written by Linda Lee, Bruce's wife. "She absolutely said it."
Moreover, Tarantino spoke to the fight scene between Lee and Brad Pitt's Cliff Booth, which has also been a point of contention among viewers. "Could Cliff beat up Bruce Lee? Brad would not be able to beat up Bruce Lee, but Cliff maybe could. If you ask me the question, ‘Who would win in a fight: Bruce Lee or Dracula?’ It’s the same question. It’s a fictional character."
Written, directed and produced by Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood stars Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Burt Reynolds, Al Pacino, Tim Roth, Zoe Bell, Michael Madsen, Timothy Olyphant, Damian Lewis, Luke Perry, Emile Hirsch and Dakota Fanning.