China banned Pitt, Di Caprio film because Quentin Tarantino refused authorities

October 22, 2019 - 8:28 PM
Quentin Tarantino
Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino in Tokyo, Japan in August 2019 at the premiere night of "Once Upon A Time in Hollywood" starring Brad Pitt and Leonardo di Caprio. (Sony Pictures/Released via Facebook)

Celebrated director Quentin Tarantino’s refusal to re-cut his latest movie “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” to please Chinese authorities.

This development came after another Hollywood movie “Abominable” is allegedly being used as a form of Chinese propaganda for its claims in the South China Sea.

Based on reports, China was supposed to be the last overseas debut of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” on October 26 and could place its worldwide box office sales near or more than $400 million.

However, it was suddenly blocked due to the Chinese government’s objection to the portrayal of martial arts star Bruce Lee, who was played by actor Mike Moh.

It would only be released unless Tarantino edits or makes re-cuts that part in the production.

But the director refused to censor his own film even if the move would make him earn millions.

The movie is about a has-been TV actor and his stunt double who were trying to make it big during Hollywood’s so-called Golden Age in 1969 in Los Angeles. It made its international release last July 26, 2019.

This was Tarantino’s second movie that received censorship from China. In 2012, the opening of his movie “Django Unchained” in the country got pushed back due to graphic content, violence and nudity.

Tarantino made re-cuts back then; however, the movie still flopped in terms of sales.

On Bruce Lee’s character

While there’s no official statement from China, some reports say that Lee’s daughter Shannon took offense on Moh’s depiction of her father and filed a complaint to China’s National Film Administration.

For Shannon, Tarantino did a mockery on her father’s character.

In an interview with The Wrap, the daughter of the iconic actor shared that while she understood the reasons for the portrayal, she still felt uncomfortable when watching it herself.

Mike Moh as Bruce Lee
Mike Moh as Bruce Lee in “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.” (Sony/Columbia)

“I understand they want to make the Brad Pitt character this super bad-ass who could beat up Bruce Lee. But they didn’t need to treat him in the way that white Hollywood did when he was alive,” Shannon said.

“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,” she added.

Tarantino, however, said at a press conference that Lee’s representation in the movie was what he remembered of the late actor.

“Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy. The way he was talking, I didn’t just make a lot of that up. I heard him say things like that to that effect,” the filmmaker said.


Prior to this development, an animated movie titled “Abominable” which was produced by Dreamworks Animation and a Shanghai-based studio was accused of being used as China’s propaganda over its claims on the disputed waters of South China Sea.

Screenshots of a scene involving a map that featured China’s invalidated nine-dash claim made rounds online.

As of publication, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines have released statements of prohibiting the movie’s debut on their theaters.