Bruce Lee’s Daughter Thinks Tarantino Should have Consulted Her Before Depicting Him in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

The late martial arts legend makes an unauthorized appearance in upcoming Manson-era movie
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Along with Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate, martial artist and movie icon Bruce Lee (Mike Moh) is one of the few characters Quentin Tarantino pulled from real life for his upcoming ode to the film industry’s glory days, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Lee’s daughter, Shannon, wishes the director had checked with her first.

She tells Deadline, “With Tarantino’s film, to not have been included in any kind of way, when I know that he reached out to other people but did not reach out to me, there’s a level of annoyance—and there’s part of me that says this is not worth my time and my energy. Let’s just see how the universe deals with this one.”

Shannon Lee isn’t just the legend’s daughter, but also the gatekeeper of his estate. She says a lot of filmmakers want to option the rights to her father, and then cut her out of the process, which may be why Tarantino never reached out in first place.

“If they contacted me, I could be completely unreasonable and a pain in the ass and make all kinds of ridiculous demands—but they don’t know that I’m not going to do that. A lot of times, the best practice is ‘we’ll just stay away from that so we don’t have to even open that can of worms.’”

She says she understands why some filmmakers try to sidestep her on their Bruce Lee projects. “It has to be in alignment with my father’s legacy and with my family and with my family’s legacy. We can be as creative and as free and as awesome as we want to be, but if, at the end, if come to me and say, ‘I want to make a buddy cop movie where Bruce Lee goes around giving people the death touch and scaling walls like Spider-Man,’  I’m going to say no.”

In 2015, Lee’s estate sought to stop the makers of the 2016 martial arts movie Ip Man 3 from depicting Lee, although the film ultimately did include a Lee character.


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