After months of backlash, Quentin Tarantino has finally addressed his film’s contentious portrayal of the late Bruce Lee – by telling his critics to “suck” it. The director of “Pulp Fiction” revealed the news during a Tuesday appearance on “The Joe Rogan Experience.”
“Where I’m coming from is … I can understand his daughter having a problem with it; it’s her f–king father!” the 58-year-old auteur told Rogan. “I get that. But anybody else? Go suck a d–k.”
He was responding to backlash following the film’s polarizing sequence in which stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) beats up an arrogant Bruce Lee (Mike Moh) on the set of “The Green Hornet.” Detractors labeled the doppelganger a racial caricature, while Shannon Lee, the martial arts icon’s daughter, accused “Once Upon A Time…” of portraying her father as an “arrogant a-hole who was full of hot air.”
Tarantino defended Lee’s arrogant portrayal as somewhat realistic.
“If you look at it [the scene], it’s obvious Cliff tricked him. That’s how he was able to [beat him],” explained the former video store employee, adding that the sequence is more fleshed out in the novelized version of the book, which came out this week. Tarantino described how in their best-two-out-of-three Kumite, Booth let Lee win the first round to gauge his technique so that when the Jeet Kune Do founder used the same move the second time, he was able to counter it.
According to Tarantino, the old stunt performer’s victory over the grandfather of Mixed Martial Arts was all the more credible since he possessed real-world combat skills from his time in the service.
“He fought in World War II,” he explained. “If Cliff fought Bruce Lee in a Madison Square Garden martial arts competition, Cliff wouldn’t stand a chance. But as a killer who killed men in a jungle, he’d kill him.”
“Stuntmen hated Bruce on ‘The Green Hornet,’ it’s in Matthew Polly’s book,” the screenwriter insisted, adding that the actor “was always tagging them with his feet and his fists, and it got to the point where they refused to work with him.”
In contrast to Tarantino’s assertions, Lee biographer Polly praised the late legend as “very respectful of those beneath him on film productions, notably stuntmen.”