Leave it to Quentin Tarantino, a filmmaker whose body of work demonstrates a keen understanding of the power of stories to mold our perceptions of the world, to show lesser lights how to take a stand against authoritarian repression.
Chinese officials abruptly canceled the release of Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood in that country last week. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the shocking move came after Shannon Lee, Bruce Lee’s daughter, complained to Chinese officials about the film’s representation of her father as a boastful fool fought to a standstill by a mere stuntman.
Tarantino, one of the rare directors with the power to demand final cut on his (relatively expensive) films, reportedly has no intention of re-editing the picture – not for Shannon Lee, not for Chinese censors squeamish about the film’s graphic violence, not for any reason. And in so doing, Tarantino proves yet again that he is one of the most important, most interesting, most provocative and most honest filmmakers working today.
Aside from his accountants and the bean counters at Sony, one can only guess how much money Tarantino is leaving on the table by sticking to his guns; he reportedly negotiated a massive back-end deal when selling his services on Once Upon a Time, asking for upwards of 25 percent of the first-dollar gross. (A “Sony insider” told the Hollywood Reporter he did not get this figure, but he probably got something close to it if he didn’t: according to Deadline, Tarantino earned something like $US75 million between Inglourious Basterds and The Hateful Eight.)