Shannon Lee, the daughter of Bruce Lee, discusses her father’s legacy, Tarantino’s obsession with her dad, and Brandon Lee’s death.
Some people say imitation is the highest form of flattery, but what if the offspring of a deceased legend is uncomfortable with how their parent is represented by those intending to honor the dead? Shannon Lee, the daughter of martial arts legend Bruce Lee and sister of The Crow actor Brandon Lee, is opening up about the dearly departed and how their legacy continues through cult classics and high-profile director’s passion projects. Speaking with the U.K.-based news outlet The Telegraph, Shannon says she could use some clarification on Quentin Tarantino’s use of her father’s legacy.
“I’ve never met him. I don’t know what his issues are with my father,” Shannon says about Tarantino’s interpretation of her father. “Clearly, he thinks my father is cool because he has borrowed from him quite a bit. But at the same time, I think he has been told a lot of stories by people who have encountered my father and had a negative reaction. They found him to be overly confident or arrogant. I have to say, in my experience, the stories are mostly from white men. I think Quentin may have been told a lot of those stories and believes them. I think a lot of people looked at my father as uppity, you know?”
Early in her acting career, Shannon struggled to emerge from her father’s shadow, saying she’d have directors telling her to ‘just do it like your dad would do it,’ an absurd request by any stretch of the imagination. Shannon also says she’s happy to have worked before the internet could demoralize up-and-coming actors with the touch of a button. It would be easy for naysayers to accuse her of riding the wave of her father’s fame.
Shannon also remembers the aftermath of her brother Brandon’s death on the set of The Crow. Brandon died after a prop gun containing an improperly made dummy round fired a bullet into the actor’s abdomen, lodging in his spine. The shot heard around Hollywood sent a shockwave through the industry, with misinformation and tall tales quickly circulating about the incident.
“I was in a very dark, depressed place,” Shannon says about her mental state after Brandon’s untimely death. “I happened to come across a quote of my father’s that I had never read before that really inspired me to try to figure out a way to ease my own pain. The quote was, “The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, but I did not observe it until this moment. But now I see that if I am ever to find the light, I must be like the candle and be my own fuel.”
Unfortunately, Rupert Sanders’ reboot of The Crow, starring Bill Skarsgård as Eric Draven (played by Brandon Lee in the original), is stirring mixed emotions for Shannon. “No matter how long it’s been, and it’s been 30 years, right? Grief is the sort of thing that will suddenly, one day just sort of poke up at you. So I think it’s just a matter of where I am at the moment. So when it debuts, if I don’t feel called to engage with it, then I just won’t. Or if I’m intrigued and I want to see what they’ve done, then I will. And is it gets too painful, the I’ll stop.” Shannon laughs after sharing this part of herself with The Telegraph, though you can tell it carries a weight that only those who’ve lost their nearest and dearest can bear.
What do you think of Quentin Tarantino’s use of Bruce Lee’s legacy? Does he do the martial arts master justice in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood? Is Lee’s influence on the Kill Bill series worth celebrating? Are you excited to see Skarsgård’s portrayal of Eric Draven in Rupert Sanders’ The Crow? Let us know in the comments section below.
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/shannon-lee-quentin-tarantino-legacy/