Steve Iervolino/ABC Radio(LOS ANGELES) — (NOTE LANGUAGE) A day after Quentin Tarantino defended his portrayal of the late, legendary martial artist Bruce Lee in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Lee’s daughter Shannon is firing back.
“He could shut up about it,” Ms. Lee tells Variety. “That would be really nice. Or he could apologize or he could say, ‘I don’t really know what Bruce Lee was like. I just wrote it for my movie. But that shouldn’t be taken as how he really was.'”
As previously reported, a scene in the film has Lee, played by actor Mike Moh, squaring off with Brad Pitt’s stuntman Cliff Booth. In that scene, Ms. Lee says, her dad is painted as, quote, “an arrogant a**hole who was full of hot air” — something with which Quentin seems to 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. “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.”
Not so, says Shannon Lee. Variety agrees, noting that it was the author of the biography, and not Lee’s widow, who speculated Bruce Lee could have defeated the legendary boxer then known as Cassius Clay.
“One of the things that’s troubling in his response is that, on the one hand, he wants to put this forward as fact and, on the other hand, he wants to stay in fiction,” says Lee.
She added, “[I]t’s a little disingenuous for him to say, ‘Well, this is how he was, but this is a fictional movie, so don’t worry too much about it.'”
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