Tarantino Defends Controversial OUATIH Bruce Lee Stuntman Scene

While promoting the film’s novelization, Quentin Tarantino is defending Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s controversial depiction of Bruce Lee.

While promoting the film’s novelization, Quentin Tarantino is defending Once Upon a Time in Hollywood‘s controversial depiction of Bruce Lee. The Oscar-winning eighth film from the writer/director explores the final days of Hollywood’s golden age in 1969 Los Angeles. Chronicling multiple intersecting characters, the story primarily focuses on Leonardo DiCaprio’s fading character actor Rick Dalton, his stunt double Cliff Booth played by Brad Pitt, and the late Sharon Tate, portrayed by Margot Robbie.

DiCaprio, Pitt, and Robbie led an ensemble cast that included Kurt Russell, Damon Herriman, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Dakota Fanning, Austin Butler, Bruce Dern, and Al Pacino. The film received rave reviews from critics, garnering 10 Oscar nominations and two wins for Pitt for Best Supporting Actor and Best Production Design. It also received five Golden Globe nominations and three wins for Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy, Best Supporting Actor for Pitt, and Best Screenplay for Tarantino. In addition, it was revealed last year Tarantino was working on a novelization of the film. With it now in stores, the filmmaker is opening up about certain talked-about elements, including some of its more controversial scenes.

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Related: Why Quentin Tarantino Only Wants To Make 10 Movies (Will He Really Stop?)

Tarantino sat down with Joe Rogan for the latest episode of his podcast (via Indiewire) to discuss the novelization of his Oscar and Golden Globe-winning film. The conversation turned towards the film’s depiction of the martial arts legend, which the filmmaker has previously defended, and took the opportunity to expand a bit more on the process behind his portrayal of Lee, including the original plan for his and Booth’s fight in the film. See what Tarantino had to say below:

“Where I am coming from is I can understand his daughter having a problem with it. It’s her f-ck-ng father. I get that. But anybody else, oh suck a d-ck! Bruce had no respect for American stuntmen, he was always hitting them with his feet. He was always tagging them with his feet and his fist and it got to the point where they would refuse to work with Bruce. The stuntmen hated Bruce on Green Hornet. It’s in Matthew Polly’s book [Bruce Lee: A Life] and it’s always been known. That’s why Gene Labelle was brought in, to teach Bruce respect for American stuntmen. If Cliff fought Bruce Lee at a Madison Square Garden martial arts tournament, he would not stand a chance. But as a killer who has killed men before in a jungle, he would kill Bruce Lee. He’d f-ck-ng kill him! Bruce Lee is not a killer. He’s actually facing a guy who could kill him, it’s a different story. It’s in the book, when Bruce realizes Cliff is taking a military combat stance, he realizes Cliff is a killer.”

Mike Moh as Bruce Lee in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

The argument could certainly be made in either direction for the film’s depiction of Lee, as the more cartoonish nature of the portrayal could stem from the lens of Pitt’s proud Booth while also possibly harking to a lack of respect from Tarantino himself for the martial arts legend. That being said, the recent comments defending his take on the late star do come across as fairly honorable and show a deeper thought process from Tarantino. Additionally, actor Mike Moh has previously stated that, despite initial hesitations over the film’s portrayal, the filmmaker has high reverence for Lee.

Given Tarantino notes in his new defense that Booth would lose to Lee in a proper martial arts competition, it should take some heat off the filmmaker’s back. With a four-hour cut of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood reportedly coming later this year, Tarantino could take the opportunity to offer a more clarified take on the character appeasing both sides of the argument.

More: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Script V Film: Bruce Lee Fight Winner & Other Changes

Source: Indiewire

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