China has canceled the release of Quentin Tarantino’s critically acclaimed film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood over its portrayal of the Chinese-American actor and martial artist Bruce Lee, The Hollywood Reporter has reports.
According to sources who spoke with the Reporter, Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon made an appeal to China’s National Film Administration to stop the film’s release over her father’s controversial portrayal in the film.
The film, starring Hollywood heavyweights Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, had been approved for to hit Chinese movie theatres on October 25th, although its release now appears to have been suspended indefinitely.
Although Chinese officials have refused to comment on the decision, the suspension was reportedly a response to the complaints from the Lee family, who argued that he was falsely portrayed in the film.
“I can understand all the reasoning behind what is portrayed in the movie,” Lee’s daughter Shannon said in a July interview with The Wrap. “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.”
“The way he was talking, I didn’t just make a lot of that up,” Tarantino said. “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.”
Film censorship is commonplace in China, where communist officials control the distribution of practically all forms of entertainment. Just last week, authorities banned the American cartoon South Park after the Comedy Central show mocked Hollywood for trying to appease Chinese censors.