As China and the United States' relationship faces becomes increasingly strained in the face of ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, the East Asian country has abruptly cancelled the planned theatrical release of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Quentin Tarantino's latest film had been approved for a wide theatrical release by Chinese government, slated for October 25, before the sudden cancellation. While specific details have been released as the rationale behind the reversal, reports indicate that it may be due to the film's controversial portrayal of martial arts actor Bruce Lee.
Lee appears in the film as boastful, picking fights with stuntmen doubting his claims before fighting to a standstill against Brad Pitt's character Cliff Booth. Lee's daughter Shannon and several of the late actor's friends and co-stars had decried Lee's depiction in the film as inaccurate and a racist stereotype which was vehemently denied by Tarantino himself.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, sources indicate Shannon Lee had personally approached China's National Film Administration to voice her concerns about the film and her father's portrayal, prompting the cancelled release. The film's Chinese distributor Bona Film Group is reportedly working on a new cut of the film with Tarantino to appeal the Chinese government's reversal decision.
Written, directed and produced by Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood stars Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Burt Reynolds, Al Pacino, Tim Roth, Zoe Bell, Michael Madsen, Timothy Olyphant, Damian Lewis, Luke Perry, Emile Hirsch and Dakota Fanning