Quentin Tarantino Addresses The Portrayal Of Bruce Lee In Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
By James White Posted 13 Aug 2019
Of all the things in Quentin Tarantino‘s Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood to get people talking, one of the most controversial is the portrayal of martial arts legend Bruce Lee. Some, including Lee’s own family and former colleagues have decried it as insensitive and misleading. Now, the director himself has addressed the issue during a press conference in Moscow.
The scene in question – mild spoilers for UK audiences yet to see the movie – finds Lee (Mike Moh) challenging Brad Pitt‘s Cliff Booth to a fight on a studio lot. He’s braggadocios and strutting, claiming he could take down Muhammad Ali before the scrap with Booth (which we won’t detail).
“Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy,” Tarantino says. “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. If people are saying, ‘Well he never said he could beat up Muhammad Ali,’ well yeah, he did. Not only did he say that, but his wife, Linda Lee, said that in her first biography I ever read. She absolutely said that.”
Lee’s portrayal does seem a little odd given how much reverence Tarantino has for the man – the Bride’s outfit in Kill Bill is clearly inspired by the fighter and actor, and the debate will no doubt continue.
Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood has now crossed the $100 million mark, the first original title to do so this year. It finally opens in the UK on Wednesday, and Empire‘s review can be found here.
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