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Poster of 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood', Bruce Lee, Image courtesy: Instagram
Poster of 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood', Bruce Lee, Image courtesy: Instagram

Quentin Tarantino defends "arrogant" portrayal of Bruce Lee in 'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood'

ANI | Updated: Aug 13, 2019 13:37 IST

Washington D.C.[USA], Aug 13 (ANI): Ace filmmaker Quentin Tarantino responded to the controversy surrounding his latest outing 'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood', which features a haughty portrayal of the late martial arts legend and actor Bruce Lee.
The director defended his decision to portray the late star as "an arrogant asshole," as Lee's daughter, Shannon Lee, put it. Responding to the criticism of the depiction of Lee, Tarantino claimed that it isn't so inaccurate, reported Variety.
"Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy," Tarantino told the reporters at a recent promotional event in Moscow.
In the film, Brad Pitt's character, Cliff Booth, trades insults with Bruce Lee, played by actor Mike Moh, before they eventually agree to a best out-of-three rounds fight. The movie depicts Lee's character swaggering around the set of 'Green Hornet', demeaning boxer Muhammad Ali and picking a street fight with Pitt's character.
"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," the director added.
Lee's daughter, Shannon Lee, and his training partner Dan Inosanto shared their thoughts on the depiction of the late star to Variety in July.
Inosanto said, "He was never, in my opinion, c--ky. Maybe he was c--ky in as far as martial arts because he was very sure of himself. He was worlds ahead of everyone else. But on a set, he's not gonna show off."
"Bruce Lee would have never said anything derogatory about Muhammad Ali because he worshiped the ground Muhammad Ali walked on," he added.
Shannon said, "He was continuously marginalized and treated like kind of a nuisance of a human being by white Hollywood, which is how he's treated in the film by Quentin Tarantino."
During the fight scene that follows, Pitt's character throws Lee's character into a car during an attempted high kick. Tarantino also defended that decision.
"Could Cliff beat up Bruce Lee? Brad Pitt would not be able to beat up Bruce Lee, but Cliff maybe could," said Tarantino.
Tarantino pointed out that Pitt's character is a Green Beret trained to kill.
"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. If I say Cliff can beat Bruce Lee up, he's a fictional character so he could beat Bruce Lee up. The reality of the situation is this: Cliff is a Green Beret. He has killed many men in WWII in hand-to-hand combat," he added.
Tarantino concluded, "If Cliff were fighting Bruce Lee in a martial arts tournament in Madison Square Garden, Bruce would kill him. But if Cliff and Bruce were fighting in the jungles of the Philippines in a hand-to-hand combat fight, Cliff would kill him."
'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' is set in the backdrop of 1969 Los Angeles, features Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Mike Moh, Margot Robbie, late actor Luke Perry, Al Pacino, Dakota Fanning, Timothy Olyphant, Emile Hirsch, Damian Lewis, Michael Madsen, Lena Dunham, and Kurt Russell. It is produced by Shannon McIntosh and David Heyman.
The film is slated to hit the theatres in India on August 15, this year. (ANI)