Quentin Tarantino Won’t Be Censoring ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’ For China
The movie was set for release next week.
Quentin Tarantino has vowed not to change his 2019 revisionist Manson Family murders flick, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, for the Chinese market.
The film, scheduled for release next week, was put on indefinite hold by Chinese censors on Friday. It follows washed-up Hollywood actor, Rick Dalton, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, next-door neighbour to Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate, in the days leading up to 1969’s Manson Family murders.
A source told The Hollywood Reporter that Tarantino wouldn’t be editing the film to appease the censors. The director has final-cut rights as part of his contract.
While no official explanation has been given to film studio, Sony Pictures, it is believed that Once Upon A Time In Hollywood was pulled because of its representation of Hong Kong-American martial artist and actor Bruce Lee.
In one scene of the film – SPOILERS – Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth, an ageing Hollywood stunt double, fights with an easily provoked Bruce Lee, played by Mike Moh.
Sources from Beijing-based investors in the film, Bona Film Group, and China’s Film Bureau, told The Hollywood Reporter that Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee, complained to China’s National Film Administration about the character. She reportedly requested that the National Film Administration demand changes to Lee’s portrayal.
The characterisation of Bruce Lee in the film has previously been criticised by his friends and family as a caricature.
A source also suggested that the problem may be with Tarantino’s signature graphic violence – which is reserved for the latter part of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
I applaud Quentin Tarantino's refusal to recut his film to appease China's censorship. Unalienable rights such as free speech should not be for sale. https://t.co/7XjNZ8QRe6
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) October 19, 2019
Many Hollywood films have been edited for Chinese audiences, bowing to political pressure, including 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody. All mentions to Queen frontman Freddie Mercury’s sexuality were removed.
Tarantino’s 2012 western Django Unchained was edited for the Chinese market in 2013, after being pulled from cinemas the day after its premiere. A handful of particularly graphic sequences were cut, before it was re-released a month later.