There’s a couple things that will make Quentin Tarantino boil up with rage and lash out. Chunky socks, for example. Or when you confront his filmmaking in a non-ass kissy way. Quentin really doesn’t like it when you’re critical of his genius, and he’s shown many times that he has very little tolerance for such things. Quentin was recently faced with some criticism from Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon Lee about the way her father was portrayed in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Quentin could have offered a half-hearted apology and moved on to his next critic, but he didn’t.
Shannon’s argument was that all the deceased celebrities portrayed in OUATIH, like Sharon Tate and Steve McQueen, were shown in a sympathetic light, with honor and respect to their legacies. Her father, however, was portrayed as an arrogant piece of work (at least that’s what Shannon saw when she saw Mike Moh as Bruce Lee). Shannon called out Quentin repeatedly for what she believes was a dirty (and possibly problematic) portrayal of her father.
Variety says that Quentin was asked about Shannon’s comments earlier this week while doing press for OUATIH in Moscow. Quentin stood by his idea of Bruce Lee. He also blamed Bruce’s wife Linda Lee. Beep beep, look out Linda Lee – here comes the bus Quentin will be throwing you under. Somebody should have reminded Quentin that nothing good happens when he gets involved with women and vehicles.
“Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy. The way he was talking, I didn’t just make a lot of that up. I heard him say things like that, to that effect. If people are saying, ‘Well he never said he could beat up Muhammad Ali,’ well yeah, he did. Not only did he say that, but his wife, Linda Lee, said that in her first biography I ever read. She absolutely said that.”
Bruce Lee’s protégé and training partner Dan Inosanto spoke to Variety last month, and he strongly debated that Bruce Lee would have talked shit about Muhammad Ali.
“Bruce Lee would have never said anything derogatory about Muhammad Ali because he worshiped the ground Muhammad Ali walked on.”
This debate could go back and forth forever, which is exactly what Shannon doesn’t want. Shannon spoke to Variety in regards to Quentin’s most recent comments. Shannon thinks this could all easily end if Quentin just stopped being Quentin.
“He 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.'”
Shannon also argued that it’s disingenuous to present the movie as fiction, but cling to the idea that this was how the real Bruce Lee was. Variety also notes that the Muhammad Ali quote that Quentin claims he pulled from Linda Lee’s book was, in fact a quote from a critic. He also got the quote wrong:
“Those who watched [Bruce] Lee would bet on Lee to render Cassius Clay senseless.”
Shannon, nor any of us, will live to see the day that Quentin finally shuts up. But that’s good news for Shannon. Because if Quentin keeps talking, he’s bound to say more incorrect things, like how he butchered the origin of that Muhammad Ali quote above. The best revenge for Bruce Lee’s legacy will be to let Quentin’s loud mouth keep talking. Just let him transition from uninformed to truly stupid. “Bruce Lee once challenged Sara Lee – the frozen dessert lady – to a roundhouse kick competition. Look, I’m pretty sure I heard that directly from Bruce Lee’s hairdresser’s dog.”