Two years after the release of Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, director Quentin Tarantino continues to stand by his depiction of Bruce Lee. Most recently, Tarantino broke down the infamous scene on an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience.
Quentin Tarantino Doesn’t Step Back
For those who did not catch Quentin Tarantino‘s newest movie, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, you missed one of the most controversial scenes of the past few years. The scene features legendary martial arts star Bruce Lee (Mike Moh) fighting Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) on the set of the TV version of The Green Hornet. In the scene, Lee comes off as particularly arrogant, which offended many, including Lee’s daughter Shannon. Afterward, she condemned the scene, saying it made her father look like an “arrogant a**hole full of hot air.”
“I can understand all the reasoning behind what is portrayed in the movie,” Shannon continued. “I understand that the two characters are antiheroes and this is sort of like a rage fantasy of what would happen… and they’re portraying a period of time that clearly had a lot of racism and exclusion.” However, that’s where she draws the line. “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.” Likewise, martial arts instructor Dan Inosanto, who studied under Lee, agreed his mentor never acted like that.
Still, Tarantino refuses to back down. “I can understand his daughter having a problem with it. It’s her f**king father, I get that. But anybody else [can] go suck a d**k,” he said on a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience. Tarantino even says that he has his reasons for portraying Lee the way he did…
Regarding Bruce Lee’s Real Persona
According to Tarantino, he did not just make up his take on Lee. Instead, he researched how Lee behaved on the set of The Green Hornet. Mainly he points to author Matthew Polly’s books on martial arts and Lee. “Bruce had nothing but disrespect for American stuntmen and was always hitting them,” Tarantino said. “He was always tagging them with his feet and his fists and it got to the point where they refused to work with him.”
On the Rogan podcast, Tarantino also hinted that his directing career is coming to an end, even while admitting that most directors had bad last movies. “That’s the case for most of the Golden Age directors that ended up making their last movies in the late ’60s and the ’70s, then that ended up being the case for most of the New Hollywood directors who made their last movies in the late ’80s and the ’90s,” Quentin Tarantino said. We’ll have to wait and see!