"It's A Hugely Important Scene": Bruce Lee Actor Defends 'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood' Portrayal
Both Bruce Lee’s widow and his daughter have spoken out against the late martial artist’s appearance in the film.
Amid criticism from Bruce Lee‘s widow and daughter about the late martial artist’s appearance and portrayal in Quentin Tarantino‘s new film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the actor who portrays Lee in the film has responded to the criticism.
In an interview with Birth.Movies.Death, Mike Moh defended his portrayal of Lee and referred to his scene with Brad Pitt (who portrays fictional stuntman Cliff Booth) as “hugely important.”
“I’m not going to tell you what the original script had exactly, but when I read it, I was so conflicted because he’s my hero,” Moh said. “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.”
From there, Moh shifted to talking about his scene with Pitt, where the two square off to a best two-out-of-three rounds fight on the set of The Green Hornet TV show.
“In the film it was a challenge — ‘best two out of three.’ I got the first point — I knocked him on his ass first. And Bruce at that time was so cocky and maybe got a little excited and he didn’t know Cliff Booth has killed dozens of people with his bare hands — and that’s what people may not realize up until that moment in the film,” he said. “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?”
“Bruce didn’t always have the most affection for stuntmen; he didn’t respect all of them, because he was better than all the stunt guys. So after I got slammed, I get serious. And then we get into this scuffle, which is stopped — so it’s a tie,” he added.
“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,” Moh continued. “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.”
Previously, Shannon Lee, the daughter of Bruce Lee, said that the Enter the Dragon icon’s portrayal in Tarantino’s film “was flushed down the toilet.”