Days after Bruce Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee, expressed her dissatisfaction over the portrayal of her father in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the director has come out to defend the characterisation of the martial artist-actor saying "Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy."
Shannon Lee had said Bruce Lee comes across as an arrogant a##h**e in the movie, "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," in an interview with The Wrap. She was referring to a scene in the film in which Bruce Lee, played by Mike Moh, makes fun of Muhammad Ali and later gets into a fist fight with Cliff Booth, the character played by Brad Pitt on the sets of Green Hornet. The fight ends up in a draw.
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She had also said it was disheartening to see Bruce Lee being shown as arrogant blowhard when in fact her father had to struggle and work much harder than anyone else to make his mark in Hollywood.
According to Variety, defending his stance, Tarantino said in recent press meet in Moscow that his portrayal of Bruce Lee wasn't all that inaccurate. The director said he didn't make up much. “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,” the director was quoted as saying.
He further said Cliff Booth could beat up Bruce Lee, as shown in the movie. Describing the character of Booth, the director said Cliff is a Green Beret who killed many a man in World War II in hand-to-hand combat. "Cliff is a warrior. He is a combat person," he said, adding, if Cliff were to fight Lee in a martial arts tournament, the latter may triumph. However, if “Cliff and Bruce were fighting in the jungles of the Philippines in a hand-to-hand combat fight, Cliff would kill him,” reports Variety.