Mike Moh responded to criticism from Bruce Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee, regarding her father’s portrayal in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
After the release of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Bruce Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee, discussed why she was upset by her father’s portrayal in the Quentin Tarantino film. Specifically, Shannon Lee was disheartened by hearing audiences laughing at her father during the scene in which Bruce Lee, played by Mike Moh, challenges Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth to a showdown that ends with the revered Hong Kong-America actor being thrown into a stationary vehicle.
Shannon Lee also took issue with her father coming across as “arrogant asshole” during the fight scene, adding that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood‘s depiction of Bruce Lee was not an accurate portrayal of who he really was. During an interview with Birth.Movies.Death, Mike Moh stated that while he felt conflicted while reading the script for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, he believes Quentin Tarantino loves Bruce Lee and explained that the scene was important in establishing how dangerous Cliff Booth can be:
“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… 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?”
Mike Moh also expressed his belief that had the fight continued, Bruce Lee would have won the showdown:
“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. I don’t know any actor out there that doesn’t have some sense of wanting to be more – and I think that’s the sign of somebody that wants greatness, and will achieve greatness, always wanting more.”
How do you feel about the portrayal of Bruce Lee? Are you okay with how Once Upon a Time in Hollywood depicted him or do you agree with Shannon Lee’s criticisms?
Here is the official synopsis for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood:
Quentin Tarantino’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Austin Butler, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Mike Moh, and Al Pacino.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is now playing in theaters.