The release of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood in China has been cancelled following an appeal by Bruce Lee’s daughter regarding the film’s controversial depiction of her father.
According to sources, Lee’s daughter, Shannon, made a direct appeal to China’s National Film Administration, asking that her father be portrayed in a more positive light in the film.
As a result of Lee’s appeal, the Chinese release of the critically acclaimed film, which had previously been approved for October 25, has now been put on hold indefinitely.
You can watch the trailer for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood below:
As per The Hollywood Reporter, the film’s Chinese backers Bona Film Group are reportedly ‘frantically working’ with the film’s director, Quentin Tarantino, on a new cut in an attempt to alter the scene.
Sources close to the situation described it as a ‘last-minute scramble’ that has seen Tarantino and Bona Film Group editing the film ‘in a rush’ to get approval from the National Film Administration.
However, new reports reveal Tarantino has refused to edit his latest release to accommodate Chinese film authorities, meaning the film will most likely not be released in China at all.
The film would have been Tarantino’s first proper release in China – after his 2012 Western Django Unchained was pulled from cinemas just minutes into its opening night – and it was hoped the country’s huge market would have pushed the movie’s worldwide box office total past the $400 million mark.
As seen in the film’s trailer, Lee – played by Mike Moh – challenges Brad Pitt’s stuntman character Cliff Booth to a fight after the latter laughs at his claim his hands are considered ‘lethal weapons’.
The two then get involved in a contest to see who can knock the other down three times, which soon sees Lee getting thrown into the side of a parked car on set.
As per The Independent, Shannon Lee first condemned Tarantino in July, saying she was ‘disheartened’ by the film’s depiction of the legendary actor as ‘an arrogant arsehole who was full of hot air’.
Lee argued there was no need for Tarantino to ‘treat him in the way that white Hollywood did when he was alive’, saying her father would have had to work far harder than Booth on Hollywood sets and so would never be arrogant.
She went on to say it was a shame he wasn’t depicted as ‘someone who had to fight triple as hard as any of those people did to accomplish what was naturally given to so many others’, and said she felt ‘uncomfortable’ watching the film as she had to listen to people ‘laugh at my father’.
Although the fate of the film is uncertain, if the National Film Administration sign off on the changes put forward by Tarantino and Bona Film Group, the initial release date might still go ahead.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).