A controversial scene in Quentin Tarantino's revisionist drama Once Upon a Time in Hollywood features Brad Pitt's character Cliff Booth taking on martial arts legend Bruce Lee but the film's stunt coordinator has revealed that the original version was more explosive. In the film, Lee (played by Mike Moh) challenges Booth for a fight on "Green Hornet" set which ends in a draw but the version that Tarantino had written originally was supposed to end with Booth getting the better of the martial artiste, something that did not sit well with Pitt.
In an interview with HuffPo, the film's stunt coordinator Robert Alonzo said Tarantino originally wrote a much longer version of the fight scene, which in the film, ends in a draw after the two characters are interrupted mid-fight. The scene has drawn criticism from Lee's daughter Sharon, who claims Tarantino reduced her legendary father into a caricature, a tag that Lee constantly fought in his short life. Lee died at the age of 32 from Cerebral edema in 1973.
Alonzo said both he and Pitt had concerns about Lee losing the fight."Especially for me, as someone who has looked up to Bruce Lee as an icon, not only in the martial-arts realm, but in the way he approached philosophy and life, to see your idol be beaten is very disheartening. It really pulled at certain emotional strings that can incite a little anger and frustration as to how he's portrayed.?
Alonzo said he had a "difficult time choreographing a fight where (Lee) lost. Everyone involved was like, ‘How is this going to go over?' Brad was very much against it. He was like, ?It's Bruce Lee, man!'" Their concern led Tarantino to revise the sequence Alonzo and Pitt's pushback led Tarantino to revise the sequence.
Moh, in an interview with Birth. Movies. Death., said he too felt conflicted about the original fight scene because Lee is a personal hero.
He, however, defended Tarantino, saying the director was a huge Lee fan and the purpose of the scene was to only show Booth's strength.Sony Pictures Entertainment India releases the film in India on August 15.