Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood will reportedly no longer screen in China.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie will be indefinitely pushed from its Oct. 25 release date in the country. The outlet also reports that the decision allegedly stems from the controversial portrayal of martial arts hero Bruce Lee, with his daughter Shannon Lee making a direct appeal to China’s National Film Administration.
Shannon reportedly asked the board to demand changes to Bruce’s portrayal before its released in China. Meanwhile, THR reports that Tarantino has no intentions of cutting his film to appease the country’s regulators.
In Once Upon a Time, Bruce — played by Mike Moh — is seen standing up to Brad Pitt‘s fictional character, stuntman Cliff Booth, on the 1969 set of The Green Hornet. The two duke it out for one round where Bruce bests the newcomer, but in the following round, Booth easily overtakes the martial arts legend — appearing to be the supreme sportsman.
Shannon previously expressed disappointment in how her father was treated onscreen “in the way that white Hollywood did when he was alive” in an interview with The Wrap.
“He comes across as an arrogant a–hole who was full of hot air,” Shannon, 50, an actress and martial artist herself, said to the outlet. “And not someone who had to fight triple as hard as any of those people did to accomplish what was naturally given to so many others.”
Lee’s daughter added in her interview that while she “can understand all the reasoning behind what is portrayed in the movie,” it covers “a period of time that clearly had a lot of racism and exclusion.”
“It was really uncomfortable to sit in the theater and listen to people laugh at my father,” she said. “Here, he’s the one with all the puffery and he’s the one challenging Brad Pitt. Which is not how he was.”
As for Moh’s performance, the late star’s daughter praised the 35-year-old actor’s accurate voice and mannerisms but noted, “I think he was directed to be a caricature” — and pointed out that Moh’s hairstyle and sunglasses were based on the look Bruce donned during his Enter the Dragon era in the early ’70s, before his death in 1973 at age 32. (Enter the Dragon was released posthumously.)
Tarantino backed up his writing shortly after the film’s release.
“The way he was talking, I didn’t just make a lot of that up,” Tarantino said at a press conference for the movie in Russia. “I heard him say things like that, to that effect. If people are saying, ‘Well he never said he could beat up Muhammad Ali,’ well yeah, he did. Not only did he say that, but his wife, Linda Lee, said that in her first biography I ever read … She absolutely said it.”