Bruce Lee’s Daughter Tells Quentin Tarantino to ‘Shut Up’ or ‘Apologize’

Tarantino had called the legendary martial artist ‘arrogant'
August 16, 2019 Updated: August 16, 2019

Bruce Lee’s daughter has hit out at Quentin Tarantino after he defended how her father was depicted in the film “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.”

Speaking to Variety, Shannon Lee said the film director could “shut up about it.”

“That would be really nice. Or he [Tarantino] could apologize. Or he could say, ‘I don’t really know what Bruce Lee was like. I just wrote it for my movie. But that shouldn’t be taken as how he really was.’”

The 50-year-old’s comments came in response to Tarantino’s claims at the film’s press conference in Moscow on Aug. 7, where he said that the martial arts icon was “kind of an arrogant guy.”

He explained that Mike Moh’s portrayal of the martial arts legend, who died in July 1973, is accurate and based on conversations he heard him having with others in real life.

In one scene, Lee’s character calls his fists “lethal weapons” and challenges Brad Pitt’s character, played by stuntman Cliff Booth, to a three-round fight on the set of ‘The Green Hornet,’ claiming he could knock out Muhammad Ali.

“The way he was talking, I didn’t just make a lot of that up. I heard him say things like that, to that effect. If people are saying, ‘Well he never said he could beat up Muhammad Ali.’ Well, yeah, he did,” he said.

The American filmmaker, 56, added that the actor’s wife, Linda Lee Cadwell, also made the claims in a biography, ‘Bruce Lee: The Man I Only Knew.’

“She absolutely said that,” Tarantino added.

“Brad would not be able to beat up Bruce Lee, but Cliff maybe could,” said Tarantino. “If I’m saying Cliff could beat Bruce Lee up, he’s a fictional character. Then he could beat Bruce Lee up.”

Shannon Lee said she was concerned that viewers could mistake her father’s confidence for cockiness. She added that Tarantino’s response was troubling because while he appears to want to base Lee’s portrayal as fact, he also “wants to stay in fiction.”

“[Tarantino] can portray Bruce Lee however he wanted to, and he did,” she said. “But it’s a little disingenuous for him to say, ‘Well this is how he was, but this is a fictional movie, so don’t worry too much about it.’”

Tarantino’s ninth film portrays her father as “an arrogant a***hole who was full of hot air,” Shannon Lee said last month, after watching the movie.

Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino at The Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California, on Jan. 10, 2016. (Randy Shropshire/Getty Images)

She said in an interview with The Wrap that she felt extremely uncomfortable sitting in the theater, hearing the audience laugh at her father.

Tarantino failed to portray her Asian-American father in the late 1960s as “… someone who had to fight triple as hard as any of those people did to accomplish what was naturally given to so many others,” she added.

Shannon Lee told the outlet her father tried not to get into fights, although he was often challenged by others.

“Here, he’s the one with all the puffery, and he’s the one challenging Brad Pitt. Which is not how he was,” she said.

She thinks Moh portrayed her father well in the film in terms of his voice and mannerisms. But she told The Wrap she believes he was directed to be a “caricature.”

The martial arts icon’s daughter wrote in an open letter: “I can understand all the reasoning behind what is portrayed in the movie. I understand that the two characters are antiheroes and this is sort of like a rage fantasy of what would happen… and 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.”

“What I’m interested in is raising the consciousness of who Bruce Lee was as a human being and how he lived his life. All of that was flushed down the toilet in this portrayal, and made my father into this arrogant punching bag,” she added.