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Bruce Lee's Daughter Unhappy With Dad's Depiction In Tarantino Film

August 01, 2019 - 6:34 pm
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(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The daughter of martial-arts icon Bruce Lee has issues with the way her father is portrayed in Quentin Tarantino's latest movie, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."

Shannon Lee, who oversees Bruce Lee's legacy, tells The Wrap her father is portrayed as an arrogant blowhard, and she's upset that audiences may laugh at the way he's depicted.

In "Hollywood," set in 1969, the real-life Lee (played by Wisconsin martial-arts instructor Mike Moh) has a run-in with Brad Pitt's fictional character, stuntman Cliff Booth, on a film set. The two characters square off after the Pitt character laughs at Lee's observations about boxer Muhammad Ali. Lee, in the film, suggests he could beat Ali.

“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," Shannon Lee told The Wrap. 

Bruce Lee (1940-1973) was largely ignored by the racially closed Hollywood of the late-1960s but found work as a martial-arts teacher to the stars and as a stunt coordinator. He eventually went to his hometown of Hong Kong to break into leading parts and starred in a string of wildly successful kung-fu films in the early-1970s. He died before achieving wider stardom in his lifetime.

Shannon Lee visits SiriusXM on March 28, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Biographers have said Bruce Lee was a complex person who sometimes bragged about his considerable abilities. His contemporaries, including Chuck Norris, have said Lee was the real deal as a fighter.

Shannon Lee said she doesn't have a problem with actor Moh, who she says did an effective job replicating her father's voice and mannerisms.

Although the Tarantino movie has a little fun at Bruce Lee's expense, the film also includes shorter scenes of the martial artist teaching pupils, including actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). 

"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" grossed more than $40 million in its opening weekend, which marked the biggest debut for Tarantino.

Related: New Bio: Heat Stroke May Have Killed Bruce Lee