Quentin Tarantino’s physical appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast has sparked contemporary controversy around the director’s bizarre depiction of Bruce Lee in a scene from Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.

Most Tarantino movies inevitably spark controversy on release, as critics question his really like of cartoonish hyper-violence, or his tone-deaf depictions of racism. But the dust had prolonged settled on the notorious Bruce Lee scene, and Rogan’s questioning provoked a surprisingly defensive reaction, igniting new controversy. 

The scene in problem shows Brad Pitt’s character, Cliff, daydreaming about the time he provoked Bruce Lee into a combat. Lee, played by Mike Moh, is depicted as exceptionally cocky and intense – Cliff manages to humiliate the martial arts legend by throwing him from a car or truck, but the struggle is broken up before a accurate winner can be declared. 

Reportedly, Tarantino initially intended for Cliff to gain the combat outright, but revised the scene just after stunt coordinator Robert Alonzo and Pitt himself pushed back towards the thought. 

The scene is based mostly on a authentic confrontation amongst Lee and a stuntman named Gene LeBell, who did handle to defeat Lee in a scuffle. But alternatively of becoming resentful, Lee ended up befriending LeBell, even incorporating LeBell’s grappling methods into his have regime.  

Now, the Hollywood scene was under no circumstances viewed as a respectful depiction of Lee, but most admirers interpreted the scene as harmless exciting, yet another a single of Tarantino’s ahistorical flights of fantasy. And thinking about that Tarantino has paid out homage to Lee in a number of of his films, it seemed possible that the scene was not supposed to make a mockery out of Lee many even assumed the scene took area fully in Cliff’s creativity. 

But when Tarantino released into an clarification on Rogan’s podcast, those charitable interpretations faded away, as Tarantino produced it explicitly distinct that he thought of Lee as arrogant, a bit overrated, and considered Lee as disrespectful toward American stuntmen, citing a biography of Lee by Matthew Polly. Polly shortly tweeted a clarification stating that Tarantino’s assertion was factually incorrect. Polly tweeted:

“It wasn’t an challenge of disrespect but a big difference in fight choreography philosophy and style.” 

But Tarantino did not quit there – as the podcast ongoing, Tarantino, unprovoked, continued to bring up promises manufactured by Lee’s widow, Linda Lee Cadwell, regularly dismissing her as a “liar.” 

At first, the rebuttal appeared like a typical Tarantino attempt to be edgy, but as the director ongoing to dismiss her, and even produced some odd statements about Lee himself, the notion that Tarantino nurses some variety of individual grudge towards Lee became significantly plausible. At 1 position, Rogan appeared deeply unpleasant. 

Of course, the Bruce Lee dialogue turned the most important takeaway from the interview, spawning dozens of thinkpieces, hundreds of tweets expressing anger toward Tarantino, and a especially considerate rebuke from Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee.

It is hard to perspective that scene in Once On A Time In Hollywood with ambiguity all over again after Tarantino’s explanation, it looks obvious that Tarantino made an all-American badass, Cliff, to put Lee in his location. There is not much more to the scene than that. 

David Lynch at the time claimed that to communicate about art is to “reduce it” – potentially Tarantino should really have thought of those people intelligent terms just before showing up on the Joe Rogan Encounter.