The actor who portrays Bruce Lee in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has broken his silence about the recent backlash. If you still haven’t seen Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, be warned: There are some major spoilers ahead!
Shortly after the July 26th world premiere of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon sharply criticized the film’s portrayal of her late, legendary father. Shannon felt the movie made a “mockery” out of the martial arts master, telling TheWrap that
“[Quentin Tarantino made him look like] an arrogant a—— who was full of hot air.”
The controversial scene in question involves a fight between Bruce Lee and Brad Pitt’s character, stuntman Cliff Booth – a scuffle that eventually finds Booth shoving Lee against the side of a car.
In an interview with Birth.Movies.Death, Mike Moh – the actor who portrays Bruce Lee – revealed he had some major issues with the first version of the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood script.
“I’m not going to tell you what the original script had exactly, but when I read it, I was so conflicted because he’s my hero – Bruce in my mind was literally a god. He wasn’t a person to me, he was a superhero. And I think that’s how most people view Bruce.”
But Moh firmly believes Tarantino has a lot of respect for Bruce Lee. The actor points out that Lee didn’t actually lose the fight: it was technically a tie. If you’ve seen the film, you’ll remember that Lee wins the first round and loses the second. The battle is broken up before the winner can be determined in a third round.
Moh also makes a point to say:
“The thing about it is, number one, it’s a Tarantino film. He’s not going to do the thing that everybody expects anybody else to do. You’ve got to expect the unexpected. And number two, I knew from the jump, Tarantino loves Bruce Lee; he reveres him.”
To Moh, the fight scene wasn’t about disrespecting the beloved Hong Kong-American actor. It was about establishing Cliff Booth as a force to be reckoned with:
“It’s a hugely important scene – what better way to show how dangerous Cliff is than for him to show up and even match him for a little bit with Bruce? […] At that moment when I get slammed, that’s when Bruce realizes, oh s—, this guy is not just a stunt guy.’ Because Bruce didn’t always have the most affection for stuntmen; he didn’t respect all of them, because he was better than all the stunt guys. So after I got slammed, I get serious.” Keep watching the video to see how the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s Bruce Lee actor responds to outrage!