Bruce Lee's Daughter Calls Portrayal of Her Father in 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' a 'Mockery'

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Bruce Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee, is sharing her misgivings over how her father is portrayal in Quentin Tarantino’s new film,Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Warning: spoilers alert. In the film, Bruce (played by Mike Moh) gets into a heated exchange with stuntman Cliff Booth (played by Brad Pitt) on the set of the TV show The Green Hornet. Ultimately, the pair decide to settle their differences with a best-of-three fight, which begins with Bruce quickly laying out Cliff. However, during their second round, Bruce is thrown into a car, heavily denting it.

But, before they exchange blows, Bruce is depicted as an arrogant windbag pontificating about how dangerous he is. Shannon lamented not just the way her father is portrayed, but also how his fictional coworkers treat him in the film.

"I can understand all the reasoning behind what is portrayed in the movie," she told The Wrap. "I understand that the two characters [Booth and Rick Dalton, played by Leonardo DiCaprio] are antiheroes and this is sort of like a rage fantasy of what would happen… and they’re portraying a period of time that clearly had a lot of racism and exclusion."

"I understand they want to make the Brad Pitt character this super badass who could beat up Bruce Lee," she added. "But they didn’t need to treat him in the way that white Hollywood did when he was alive."

Shannon also said she feels the treatment of her father in the movie is vastly different than how the rest of the film's characters, who are all white, are treated.

"Given how sympathetic Tarantino’s portrayal of Steve McQueen, Jay Sebring, and Sharon Tate is, I’m surprised he didn’t afford the same courtesy to Lee, the only non-white character in the film," she said. "He could have achieved the same effect -- using Bruce to make Brad Pitt’s character look tough -- without the mockery."

She continued: "I suspect the reason Tarantino felt the need to take Bruce down a notch is because Lee’s introduction of Eastern martial arts to Hollywood fight choreography represented a threat to the livelihood of old Western stuntmen like Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), who were often incapable of adapting to a new era, and the film’s nostalgic, revisionist sympathies are entirely with the cowboys."

Central to the film is the late actress Sharon Tate (played by Margot Robbie), who was one of the victims of the Manson Family murders in 1969. While Tate’s sister, Debra Tate, did offer Tarantino her seal of approval early on, she has since admitted that she’d wished her sister played a larger part in the movie, which the filmmaker has been criticized for.

"When I read the whole script, I knew that the real meat of the story was going to be Leo and Brad Pitt’s characters," Debra Tate told Vanity Fair. "I mean, I really wish that Quentin Tarantino would do the Sharon Tate story, and I would love to see Margot play [that]… But that was not the movie that Quentin had written, and I knew it and I understood it. And it was his vision. I’m not going to tell anybody that has done such a wonderful job, and a respectful job at honoring a particular situation, that they have to do my version of a story. Although I really wish he would’ve."

See more on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood below.


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Charles Manson, Sharon Tate and the 1969 Murders: The Real Story Behind 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'

Quentin Tarantino Says Tom Cruise Nearly Played Brad Pitt's Role in 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'

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