Published: Wed, August 14, 2019
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Tarantino defends the Bruce Lee scene from 'Once Upon A Time...'

Tarantino defends the Bruce Lee scene from 'Once Upon A Time...'

As we learned just last week, Quentin Tarantino was over in Russian Federation recently for that country's premiere of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, a visit that saw him touring the Kremlin, eating cheese, and running the red carpet gauntlet with the assembled press.

During a recent Moscow press conference for his new film, Tarantino broke his silence to defend his creation from all the controversy, justifying it by stating that, "Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy." . I just think I've given all I have to give to movies. "Alright? Not only did he say that, but his wife, Linda Lee, said that in her first biography I ever read". If people are saying, 'Well he never said he could beat up Muhammad Ali, ' well yeah he did.

The biography Tarantino references is titled "Bruce Lee: The Man Only I Knew", which Lee's widow, Linda Lee, published in 1978. "She absolutely said that".

Brad Pitt's character in the film, Cliff Booth, is a stuntman who stages a best-of-three fight with Lee during a break from filming the "Green Hornet" TV show. Lee wins the first round with a straight kick to Booth's chest, Booth wins the second round by throwing Lee into the side of a auto, and the third round is interrupted, thus ending the match with a tie.

Shannen Lee said the portrayal of her late father was "disheartening", adding: "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". She said, "I can understand all the reasoning behind what is portrayed in the movie".

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood is now playing.

Tarantino has also come under fire for showing Lee apparently being upper-handed by Brad Pitt's washed-up stunt double Cliff Booth.


These comments from Tarantino may not what some people were hoping for - namely those who agree with Shannon Lee's perception of the film and her statement that it made Bruce Lee look like a blowhard and an "arrogant a**hole who was full of hot air". "He's a fictional character", Tarantino explained.

The director also addressed criticism that the film makes Lee out to be weaker than he was. If you ask me the question, OK, who would win in a fight: Bruce Lee or Dracula? Quentin said the comparisons were silly because Cliff was a fictional character.

While Brad Pitt's character was fictional, the idea that he could hold his own against Bruce Lee was intentional.

Later, Tarantino elaborated on Booth's backstory, arguing that, because of his experience as a veteran, he'd be able to take on the action movie star - in certain circumstances.

"The reality of the situation is this: Cliff is a Green Beret He has killed many men in WWII in hand-to-hand combat".

"Could Cliff beat up Bruce Lee?". What he admires is combat, and boxing is a closer approximation of combat as a sport than martial arts tournaments are. Cliff is not even part of the sport that is like combat; he is a warrior. "He is a combat person".

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