Much has been made of Bruce Lee’s brief but essential cameo in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. For many, it’s a highlight of the film (as our own Vince Mancini wrote, “I enjoy the scene in a way that probably doesn’t cheapen Lee’s legacy”), while others, like Lee’s daughter, took umbrage with Quentin Tarantino depicting the screen legend as an “arrogant asshole who was full of hot air.” In an interview with Birth. Movies. Death., Mike Moh, the actor picked to portray Lee, defended his fight scene against Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth, specifically Tarantino’s decision to not Lee immediately destroy the stuntman character.
“I knew from the jump, Tarantino loves Bruce Lee; he reveres him… 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,” Moh said. He added that it was “hugely important” to show how dangerous Cliff is; remember, this guy murdered his wife, or as Moh explained, after he got slammed into the car, “That’s when Bruce realizes, oh shit, this guy is not just a stunt guy. Because 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. 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. 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. And I think I respect him more knowing that he had these challenges, these obstacles, just like everybody.” (Via)
Usually when people say, “Give me five more seconds and I would have won,” they’re full of it. But when Bruce Lee (or even “Bruce Lee”) says it, I believe it.
— Rotten Tomatoes (@RottenTomatoes) March 20, 2019
(Via Birth. Movie. Death.)