Bruce Lee’s daughter is asking Quentin Tarantino to “stop commenting” on her late dad.
Appearing on “The Joe Rogan Experience”, the director once again addressed criticism from many, including Shannon Lee, over the martial arts star’s depiction in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”.
“Where I am coming from is I can understand his daughter having a problem with it. It’s her f**king father. I get that,” Tarantino said. “But anybody else, oh suck a d**k!”
In the film, Lee gets into a fist fight on-set with fictional stuntman Cliff Booth, played by Brad Pitt, who nearly beats him, before they are interrupted.
“Cliff’s method is to give the guy the first fall,” said Tarantino. “He gives Bruce no resistance whatsoever and Bruce knocks Cliff on his ass. There’s four different ways Bruce could’ve come at him the second time and Cliff would’ve had little defense, but most of the time if a guy has a particular move and it looks like the other dude is a big mouth who can’t defend himself, they do the first move again a second time. But now Cliff knows what it is! He prepares for it and throws [Bruce’s] a** into the car. He just tricked him. Bruce realizes he got tricked.”
The director clarified, though, that their fighting skills are not entirely comparable.
“If Cliff fought Bruce Lee at a Madison Square Garden martial arts tournament, he would not stand a chance,” Tarantino said. “But as a killer who has killed men before in a jungle, he would kill Bruce Lee. He’d **king kill him! Bruce Lee is not a killer. He’s actually facing a guy who could kill him, it’s a different story. It’s in the book, when Bruce realizes Cliff is taking a military combat stance, he realizes Cliff is a killer.”
He continued, “Bruce didn’t really want to hurt Cliff. He just wanted to show him up. But Cliff wanted to hurt Bruce. If by slamming him into that car he had f**ked up Bruce’s back and neck for the rest of his life, Cliff would have been fine with that.”
Tarantino also pushed back on the notion that his depiction of Lee was disrespectful, citing the accuracy of his having had a contentious relationship with American stunt performers.
“The stuntmen hated Bruce on ‘Green Hornet,’” he explained. “It’s in Matthew Polly’s book [Bruce Lee: A Life] and it’s always been known. That’s why Gene Labelle was brought in, to teach Bruce respect for American stuntmen.”
He added, “Bruce had no respect for American stuntmen, he was always hitting them with his feet. It’s called tagging when you hit a stuntman for real. He was always tagging them with his feet and his fist and it got to the point where they would refuse to work with Bruce. He had nothing but disrespect for American stuntmen. It was probably just like, ‘Oh they’re just not good enough… I want to make it look real!’ But stuntmen don’t like that. That’s unprofessional.”
To this statement, Shannon Lee writes, “While I am grateful that Mr. Tarantino has so generously acknowledged to Joe Rogan that I may have my feelings about his portrayal of my father, I am also grateful for the opportunity to express this: I’m really fucking tired of white men in Hollywood trying to tell me who Bruce Lee was.”
In a new guest column published by The Hollywood Reporter, Shannon responded, “Why does Quentin Tarantino speak like he knew Bruce Lee and hated him? It seems weird given he never met Bruce Lee, right? Not to mention that Mr. Tarantino happily dressed the Bride in a knock-off of my father’s yellow jumpsuit and the Crazy 88s in Kato-style masks and outfits for ‘Kill Bill,’ which many saw as a love letter to Bruce Lee. But love letters usually address the recipient by name, and from what I could observe at the time, Mr. Tarantino tried, interestingly, to avoid saying the name Bruce Lee as much as possible back then.”
Shannon went on to criticize “white men in Hollywood” for calling her father “arrogant and an asshole when they have no idea and cannot fathom what it might have taken to get work in 1960s and ’70s Hollywood as a Chinese man.”
She added, “I’m tired of white men in Hollywood mistaking his confidence, passion, and skill for hubris and therefore finding it necessary to marginalize him and his contributions.”