Once Upon a Time in Hollywood actor responds to criticism from Bruce Lee's daughter

The Tarantino movie’s depiction of the legendary actor was condemned last week by Lee’s daughter

Adam White
Monday 05 August 2019 08:44 BST
Once Upon A Time In... Hollywood Clip - Cliff, Randy, and Rick

Mike Moh, the actor cast as Bruce Lee in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, has admitted to feeling “conflicted” about the role prior to his casting, following criticism from Lee’s daughter over the portrayal of her father in the film.

Speaking to Birth.Movies.Death, Moh said that he was “so conflicted” when reading the film’s script, as “[Lee is] my hero”. He continued, “Bruce in my mind was literally a God. He wasn’t a person to me, he was a superhero. And I think that’s how most people view Bruce.”

In the film, Lee is depicted as a cocky egotist who challenges Brad Pitt’s character Cliff Booth to a physical fight, only to be beaten down and thrown into a stationary vehicle. But Moh said that the upending of expectations is a Tarantino tradition.

“Number one: it’s a Tarantino film,” Moh said. “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?”

He continued, “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.”

Last week Lee’s daughter Shannon said she was “disheartened” to see Tarantino write her father as “an arrogant a**hole who was full of hot air”, adding: “I understand 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.”

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