“Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy”: Quentin Tarantino defends portrayal in ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’

The filmmaker claims he wasn’t mocking the late action star

Quentin Tarantino has responded to the controversy surrounding his latest film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which featured a haughty portrayal of the late action star Bruce Lee.  

According to The Wrap, the director recently told reporters at a press junket in Moscow that he thought his depiction of Lee was fair and spot-on. “Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy,” Tarantino said. “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.” Watch him explain the controversial scene in the clip (via Radar Magazine) below. 

Tarantino’s response comes after Lee’s daughter Shannon Lee hit out at the Oscar-winning filmmaker for portraying her father as an “arrogant asshole who was full of hot air”. “It was really uncomfortable to sit in the theatre and listen to people laugh at my father,” she said. “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.”

In the movie, Brad Pitt’s character Cliff Booth challenges Lee (played by Mike Moh) to a fight on the set of the TV series The Green Hornet. According to a stunt coordinator, the scene originally had Booth win the brawl but was later tweaked after Pitt expressed concerns over the initial ending.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is Tarantino’s ninth movie and his fourth film to cross the $100million mark (£82.8million) at the North American box office. The film pulled in $11.6million (£9.6million) over its third weekend and pushed the running total to $100.3million (£83million).

The movie will hit UK cinemas this Wednesday (August 14).