Shannon Lee, the daughter of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, responded to “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” director Quentin Tarantino’s comment after he called the star “arrogant.”
When asked how Tarantino could rectify the situation, Shannon Lee, who has dedicated her life to ensure the legacy of her father lives on, told Variety that the director could “shut up about it.”
“That would be really nice. Or he could apologize or he could say, ‘I don’t really know what Bruce Lee was like. I just wrote it for my movie. But that shouldn’t be taken as how he really was,’” she added.
The 56-year-old director made his comment during a press conference in Moscow, Russia where he stated that “Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy.”
“The way he was talking, I didn’t just make a lot of that up,” Tarantino added. “I heard him say things like that to that effect. If people are saying, ‘Well he never said he could beat up Mohammad Ali,’ well yeah he did. Alright? Not only did he say that but his wife, Linda Lee, said that in her first biography I ever read. She absolutely said that.”
However, the passage that the director was referring to in his statement was apparently written by a critic and not Linda Lee Cadwell, the widow of Bruce Lee and author of the book “Bruce Lee: The Man Only I Knew.”
In it, the critic referred to the boxer as Clay, who would later be known as the equally legendary Muhammad Ali.
The passage that the critic wrote reads: “Those who watched [Bruce] Lee would bet on Lee to render Cassius Clay senseless.”
Lee also expressed the confusion in Tarantino’s statement.
“One of the things that’s troubling in his response is that, on the one hand, he wants to put this forward as fact and, on the other hand, he wants to stay in fiction,” she said. “[Tarantino] can portray Bruce Lee however he wanted to, and he did. But it’s a little disingenuous for him to say, ‘Well, this is how he was, but this is a fictional movie, so don’t worry too much about it.’”