Earlier this month, Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon Lee spoke of her unhappiness over her father’s portrayal in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, stating that the martial arts icon “comes across as an arrogant asshole” during his scenes in the film, which include a fight scene with Brad Pitt’s character Cliff Booth that ultimately ends up in a stalemate.
It’s previously been revealed that Tarantino originally wanted Cliff to come out on top in the fight, only for several people – including Pitt – to voice their concerns and convince Tarantino to change things up. Nevertheless, these changes weren’t enough to quell the controversy completely, and now actor Mike Moh, who portrays Lee in the movie, has offered his thoughts on the situation during an interview with Birth Movies Death.
“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,” states Moh. “And 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. So let me be clear; in the film it was a challenge – ‘best two out of three.’ I got the first point – I knocked him on his ass first. And Bruce at that time was so cocky and maybe got a little excited and he didn’t know Cliff Booth has killed dozens of people with his bare hands – and that’s what people may not realize up until that moment in the film.
“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?” he continues. “And the only reason why I got thrown into that car is because I was so cocky, like, oh I’m going to do this again. I can see how people might think Bruce got beat because of the impact with the car, but you give me five more seconds and Bruce would have won. So I know people are going to be up in arms about it, but when I went into my deep dive of studying Bruce, he more than anybody wanted people to know he’s human. And I think I respect him more knowing that he had these challenges, these obstacles, just like everybody.”
What do you make of Bruce Lee’s portrayal in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and his fight scene with Pitt’s Cliff Booth? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our social channels @FlickeringMyth…
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood. The two lead characters are Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), former star of a western TV series, and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Both are struggling to make it in a Hollywood they don’t recognize anymore. But Rick has a very famous next-door neighbour… Sharon Tate.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained), Brad Pitt (Inglourious Basterds), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Timothy Olyphant (Santa Clarita Diet), Al Pacino (The Godfather), Damien Lewis (Billions), Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs), Dakota Fanning (Ocean’s 8), Luke Perry (Riverdale), Emile Hirsch (The Autopsy of Jane Doe), James Marsden (Westworld), Clifton Collins Jr. (Westworld), Julia Butters (American Housewife), Keith Jefferson (The Hateful Eight), Nicholas Hammond (The Sound of Music), Scoot McNairy (Halt and Catch Fire), Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs), Spencer Garrett (The Magicians), Martin Kove (Cobra Kai), James Remar (Django Unchained), Brenda Vaccaro (Once Is Not Enough), Nichole Galicia (Django Unchained), Bruce Dern (The Hateful Eight), Mike Moh (Inhumans), Craig Stark (The Hateful Eight), Marco Rodriguez (Inhumans), Ramon Franco (Tour of Duty), Raul Cardona (Where the Sky Is Born), Lena Dunham (Girls), Maya Hawke (Stranger Things), Austin Butler (The Shannara Chronicles), Lorenza Izzo (Knock, Knock), Rumer Willis (Empire), Dreama Walker (Gossip Girl), Margaret Qualley (The Leftovers), Costa Ronin (The Americans), Victoria Pedretti (The Haunting of Hill House), Madisen Beaty (The Master), Danny Strong (Billions), Sydney Sweeney (The Handmaid’s Tale), Rafal Zawierucha (The Pact), Damon Herriman (Justified), and Palm Dog award-winner Brandy.