Shannon Lee, daughter of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, is speaking out against Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” In comments made to The Wrap, Lee criticized Tarantino for portraying her father as an “arrogant asshole” in the movie and using him as a punching bag within the film’s narrative. “Inhumans” actor Mike Moh portrays Lee in an extended scene in “Hollywood” that finds him facing off against Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth on the set of “The Green Hornet” and getting roughed up, if not outright losing.
“He comes across as an arrogant asshole who was full of hot air,” Shannon told The Wrap. “And not someone who had to fight triple as hard as any of those people did to accomplish what was naturally given to so many others…Here, he’s the one with all the puffery and he’s the one challenging Brad Pitt. Which is not how he was.”
Shannon Lee said that “it was really uncomfortable to sit in the theater and listen to people laugh at my father.” Shannon took issue with Tarantino, who she believed “directed [Moh] to be a caricature” of her father.
“What I’m interested in is raising the consciousness of who Bruce Lee was as a human being and how he lived his life,” Shannon said. “All of that was flushed down the toilet in this portrayal, and made my father into this arrogant punching bag. I understand they want to make the Brad Pitt character this super bad-ass who could beat up Bruce Lee. But they didn’t need to treat him in the way that white Hollywood did when he was alive.”
Shannon Lee made headlines before Sony’s release of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” when she criticized Tarantino for not reaching out to her about using her father in the film. Tarantino spoke with Sharon Tate’s sister about using the late actress in the movie, but did not do the same with Shannon.
“With Tarantino’s film, to not have been included in any kind of way, when I know that he reached out to other people but did not reach out to me, there’s a level of annoyance,” Shannon told Deadline. “There’s part of me that says this is not worth my time and my energy. Let’s just see how the universe deals with this one.”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is now playing in theaters nationwide.