Shannon Lee hit back on Friday after director Quentin Tarantino dubbed his controversial portrayal of her father, martial arts icon Bruce Lee, in his 2019 film “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.”
In a column for The Hollywood Reporter, Shannon Lee wrote that she was “really tired of white men in Hollywood trying to tell me who Bruce Lee was” after Tarantino said on “Joe Rogan Experience” that while he understood his previous critics, others who have challenged his interpretation of the legend may “suck a d —“. Tarantino’s portrayal has been criticized for showing Bruce Lee as an arrogant figure who lost a fight to aging stuntman Cliff Booth.
“While I am grateful to Mr. Tarantino for acknowledging Joe Rogan so generously that I can have my feelings about his portrayal of my father, I am also grateful for the opportunity to express this: I am really f —— – tired of white men in Hollywood trying to tell me who Bruce Lee was, “Lee wrote.
She added: “I’m tired of hearing from white men in Hollywood that he was cocky and an asshole when they have no idea and can’t figure out what it would have taken to get a job in the 1960s and 1970s in Hollywood as a Chinese man with (God forbid) an accent, or trying to express an opinion on set as a perceived foreigner and a person of color.
In his interview with Rogan, Tarantino claimed that Bruce Lee had “nothing but disrespect for stuntmen” on the set of the TV show “The Green Hornet”, citing Matthew Polly’s book, “Bruce Lee: One Life”. But Polly denied that her book conveyed such a message, tweeting that Lee was not disrespectful, but rather had a different “combat choreography and style” and aimed to change American flight choreography “so that the blows are missing a few millimeters rather than feet. ”And bumped into a few stuntmen in the process.
“He always hit them with his feet, he always tagged them – it’s called scoring when you hit a stuntman for real,” said Tarantino, who has never met Bruce Lee. “And that must be the point where, ‘I refuse to work with him.'”
Shannon Lee wrote that she was frustrated with the white men in entertainment who failed to amplify the true reach and impact of Bruce Lee on an entire film industry and art form.
“I’m tired of the white Hollywood men who barely notice the impact he has had on the action film genre and fight choreography, or the proliferation and interest in martial arts that he has had. has sparked around the world … while casually downplaying how his accomplishments have lifted morale and become a source of pride for Asian Americans, communities of color and people around the world, ”she said written.
Daryl Maeda, assistant professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder who writes a book on the martial arts icon, asserted many of Shannon Lee’s thoughts, explaining that Bruce Lee was an underdog in Hollywood in as an Asian American and therefore easily rejected and marginalized. Although he is known to be extremely confident and described by some as even arrogant, such an attitude was necessary given the environment in which he was trying to thrive.
“He had to be extremely sure of himself to have a chance,” Maeda said.
He said that in order for Bruce Lee to “be truly right,” one needs to understand the history of discrimination and marginalization that Asian American communities have faced, as well as their struggle for justice and visibility. He said Tarantino took Bruce Lee out of that context and only portrayed a brief fictional scene “that does not capture the entirety of his struggle to be considered fully human.”
“Not all film performances need to, but Asian American representation remains so rare in Hollywood that putting Bruce on screen is a major event, one that will inevitably attract a lot of attention,” he said. he declared. “It is unfortunate that Tarantino, who obviously admires Bruce Lee, was unable or unwilling to portray him as a full human being rather than just a caricature.”