Andrew Cooper Sony Pictures
Spoiler Warning: This article contains mild spoilers for Quentin Tarantinos Once upon a time … in Hollywood. If you have not seen it or you do not want to be pampered, stop by .
• Bruce Lee is a character in Once upon a time … In Hollywood .
• At some point her father challenges Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) to a fight.
• Lee's daughter Shannon Lee expressed her displeasure with his portrayal.
Quentin Tarantino's New Movie Once upon a time in Hollywood like Inglorious Basterds was previously a unique form of historical fiction. His characters are a mixture of complete fiction (the protagonists Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) come directly from Tarantino's head) and real characters (Bruce Lee (Mike Moh), Steve McQueen (Damian Lewis) and Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), of course, were all major Hollywood players, and a direct descendant of one of these players – Bruce Lee's real daughter, Shannon Lee – now appears averse to portraying her father in the film.
"He looks like an arrogant asshole, which was full of hot air, she said in an interview with The Wrap . "And not someone who had to fight three times as hard as any of these people to achieve what was given to so many others."
Lee, who died in 1973, appears several times in the 1969 film The sequence to which Shannon refers is certainly a flashback sequence that focuses on Lee and Pitts character Cliff.
The sequence, which was set to be behind the scenes of Green Hornet, showed Lee boasting about his fighting skills and defeating Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) in a fight. Cliff, who works as a stuntman on the show, sits next to it and giggles – and finally agrees to a duel of 3 against 1 with Lee. Lee slams Cliff down on the first lap, but in the second Pitt Lee grabs the sky and slams him into a nearby car. They are interrupted by Kurt Russell's character, the stuntman boss, before the third round can take place.
Shannon said in the interview that she understood what Tarantino intended to do in the film – that Pitts and DiCaprio's characters are a sort of fantasy world version of what could have happened. She also made it clear that a career in Hollywood was much easier for two white men like the fictional Dalton and Booth than for someone like Bruce Lee.
"I understand that they want to make the Brad Pitt character a super villain who could beat Bruce Lee," she said.
Shannon, who runs BruceLee.com and the Bruce Lee Foundation and also hosts a Bruce Lee podcast, said her dad was not the hot head the movie showed. She says that although he was often challenged to fight, he tried to avoid it – when the film showed the opposite.
"It was really uncomfortable to sit in the theater and listen to the people who laugh at my dad," she said.
It's not the first time Tarantino plays with history – elsewhere in the movie, Lewis. McQueen describes Robbies Tate to another who loathes himself of his famous looks. "I've never had a chance," he says, after describing Tate's interest in short-haired men like Jay Sebring and Roman Polanski. There is also the story-ending end of the movie (which we can not go into here, but you can read all about it here).
In a separate retrospective, the film also shows Tate learning Lee martial arts for her role in The Wrecking Crew alongside Dean Martin.
Tarantino is no stranger to his films when it comes to revisionist stories. From the assassination of Hitler in Inglorious Basterds to the revenge fantasy of the slave-turned bounty hunter of Django Unchained the director has always preferred the creative license of historical accuracy as a filmmaker.
Quiet Given that Lee is the only non-white character in Once upon a time … in Hollywood it is fair to consider whether Tarantino is in manipulating the character of the legendary martial artist goes far.