With the domestic run of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood waning, the Quentin Tarantino film was set to debut in China next weekend. That is, of course, until the governing authority reportedly decided to cancel the film's release in the territory. In a new report from THR, it's suggested Bruce Lee's daughter Shannon Lee pleaded directly with China's National Film Administration to have certain parts tweaked for it to debut. The government agreed and has since pulled the film from its release date, sending its China-based financier Bona Film Group scrambling for a compromise. That compromise appears impossible as a separate report from Variety suggests Tarantino is unwilling to recut the film. Although distributed by Sony, Tarantino's agreement with the studio lets the final cut decisions fall to the filmmaker.
The scenes in question include Bruce Lee's portrayal — played by Inhumans alumn Mike Moh — in the film, something Shannon Lee has expressed distaste for since the film entered theaters. Immediately following the release of the movie, Lee spoke with TeWrap, where she admitted it was uncomfortable sitting in a theater where people were laughing at the portrayal of her father, who's depicted as a boisterous, arrogant character in the movie.
"I can understand all the reasoning behind what is portrayed in the movie," Lee said. "I understand that the two characters are antiheroes and this is sort of like a rage fantasy of what would happen… and they’re portraying a period of time that clearly had a lot of racism and exclusion."
"I understand they want to make the Brad Pitt character this super bad-ass who could beat up Bruce Lee," she continued. "But they didn’t need to treat him in the way that white Hollywood did when he was alive... [in the film] he’s the one with all the puffery and he’s the one challenging Brad Pitt. Which is not how he was... He comes across as an arrogant asshole who was full of hot air. 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."
Tarantino later defended his writing choices.
Many think Once Upon a Time could be an Oscar front-runner for Tarantino and a sprawling cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is expected to hit home media in November.