Brad Pitt intervened to change Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s Bruce Lee scene

The Ocean's Eleven star ensured that his character didn't beat Bruce Lee in a controversial fight scene

Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio star in Columbia Pictures Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino’s interpretation of the Manson Murders, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt as perfectly cast Hollywood bit players, has amassed rave reviews — but there’s one scene in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood that’s proved controversial.


In the scene, Brad Pitt’s character Cliff goes up against Bruce Lee (played by Mike Moh), but the fight scene is cut off before a winner can be declared.

Bruce Lee’s daughter has since slammed Tarantino for depicting her father as “an arrogant asshole,” in an interview with The Wrap, while the scene has also been criticised by critics, including The New Yorker’s Richard Brody, who wrote: “The only substantial character of colour, Bruce Lee (Mike Moh), is played… as a haughty parody, and gets dramatically humiliated in a fight with Cliff.”

However, it turns out that the original version of the scene would have proved even more controversial, as it would have shown Cliff (Pitt) win the fight — something that Pitt himself was “very much against,” according to the film’s co-stunt coordinator Robert Alonzo.

“I know that Brad had expressed his concerns, and we all had concerns about Bruce losing. 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,” Alonzo told the Huffington Post.

Alonzo added: “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!’”


Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood will hit UK cinemas on 14th August 2019.