Displeasure at the depiction of Bruce Lee in Quentin Tarantino’s new film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has now extended to the martial arts icon’s widow. Both Linda Lee Cadwell and daughter Shannon Lee believe Tarantino has made a “mockery” of the late Chinese-American star.
According to Shannon Lee, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, Lee Cadwell wrote in an email that the depiction was “just awful,” saying, “I thought the character was like a caricature of himself and made him look stupid, silly, and made to be insultingly ‘Chinesey.’ It strayed so far from the truth of who he was and of any actual encounter he had… It was terrible to watch.”
Earlier this week, Shannon Lee spoke out to TheWrap. She cited the racism of ’60s Hollywood and said it was “disheartening” to see her father depicted as “an arrogant asshole who was full of hot air, and not someone who had to fight triple as hard as any of those people did to accomplish what was naturally given to so many others.”
She added, “They didn’t need to treat him in the way that white Hollywood did when he was alive.” Lee watched the movie over the weekend and said, “It was really uncomfortable to sit in the theater and listen to people laugh at my father.”
Bruce Lee biographer Matthew Polly added his own disapproval, saying, “Given how sympathetic Tarantino’s portrayal of Steve McQueen, Jay Sebring, and Sharon Tate is, I’m surprised he didn’t afford the same courtesy to Lee, the only non-white character in the film.”