(MOSCOW) — (NOTE LANGUAGE) Weeks after Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon criticized Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the director is now defending his portrayal of the late, legendary martial artist.
A scene in the film has Lee, played by actor Mike Moh, squaring off with Brad Pitt’s stuntman Cliff Booth. They trash talk each other in an exchange that includes Booth scoffing at Lee’s claims that he could take Muhammad Ali in a fight.
As previously reported, Ms. Lee said her father was painted as, quote, “an arrogant a**hole who was full of hot air” — something with which Quentin seems to partially agree.
“Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy,” the writer-director said while promoting the movie in Moscow, according to the U.K. Independent.
“I didn’t just make a lot of that up,” Tarantino said of the movie’s dialogue. “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.”
Shannon Lee said she “understood” why the movie portrays Lee in that way, but still thinks that, in death, her dad could have been afforded more respect.
“They want to make the Brad Pitt character this super bad-a** who could beat up Bruce Lee,” she told The Wrap. “But they didn’t need to treat him in the way that white Hollywood did when he was alive.”
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