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How Brad Pitt Changed Tarantino's Mind About This Controversial Fight Scene

Fight scenes can make or break a movie. In fact, they can even be the best part of a poorly reviewed blockbuster — like the warehouse fight scene in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," for example. Sure, critics were pretty unhappy with the movie overall, but some still consider that scene to be one of the best Batman fights ever (via Reddit). Either way, the opposite is also true: sometimes films with star-studded casts and a great plot can have a controversial fight scene that sits uneasy with audiences. This was the case in director Quentin Tarantino's movie "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."

The film, like many of Tarantino's, follows a plot based on historical fiction. Audiences witness the failing acting career of Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) in Hollywood during the 1960s, while he and his friend and stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) start to have small connections with the infamous Manson family. By the end of the movie, Dalton's acting career slowly gets better — although he is nearly killed by the Manson family in a bloody and brutal fight that is signature to Tarantino. However, it wasn't the scene that was controversial amongst fans. Instead, the highly-discussed fight scene happened far earlier and involved another famous person from historical fact — Bruce Lee.

Here's what we know about the story behind the altercation between Booth and Bruce Lee (Mike Moh) in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."

Booth was supposed to win, but Pitt convinced Tarantino to change it

The scene in question occurs while Cliff Booth and a couple of the crew members on Rick Dalton's latest project are hanging out with Bruce Lee on set. Lee is discussing the state of martial arts competitions and how it isn't real fighting, even noting that he could beat Muhammad Ali in a fight with ease. Booth laughs at this and offends Lee, who challenges him to a "friendly" fight — best two out of three.

In the theatrical release of the film, we see Lee knock Booth down first, then Booth throws Lee down second, and finally the two are interlocked before they're interrupted. However, according to "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" stunt coordinator Robert Alonzo, this fight in the script was originally longer and featured Booth winning (via HuffPost).

Alonzo noted that Booth was actually supposed to knock Lee down for a third time merely to show audiences his fighting background, but much of the crew, including himself and Brad Pitt specifically, felt that having Lee lose was a disservice to who he was. Apparently, Pitt was very vocally against it, and he and the crew eventually convinced Quentin Tarantino to change it to the result seen in the film's final cut.

Even with the change, this scene still received plenty of backlash from fans and Lee's own daughter, given how important Lee is in the history of entertainment, the martial-arts world, and the Asian American community (via NME).