Quentin Tarantino has found his Bruce Lee for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” TheWrap has learned. Mike Moh, who has repeatedly paid tribute to Lee online, will play the kung-fu master in Tarantino’s film set in the era of the Manson murders.
Moh was named as a member of the cast last month, but his role was not officially released. Individuals with knowledge of the project told to TheWrap this week that Moh will play Lee. That’s fitting, because Moh has honored Lee in YouTube videos (see below) and a tweet last month on the 45th anniversary of Lee’s death.
“It’s been 45 years since this man passed,” tweeted Moh, who is best known for playing Triton on Marvel’s “The Inhumans.” “#brucelee has inspired me in so many ways… Martial arts, acting, his philosophies on life. But look at the loving way he looked at his children. I know the exact feeling he felt RIP Bruce. Walk on”
The question of who would play Lee has interested his fans since news broke that Lee would appear in the film — though his appearance is likely to be brief.
For a brief time after the murders of his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, and some of their closest friends, director Roman Polanski very wrongly believed that Bruce Lee may have killed them.
It’s a strange chapter in the dark saga of the Manson murders, and Matthew Polly, the author of “Bruce Lee: A Life,” explained it in a recent episode of our “Shoot This Now” podcast. You can listen on iTunes or right here:
Moh’s hiring also adds racial diversity to a film packed with white actors. The story of the Manson murders is largely one of white killers and white victims — though the film will not focus strictly on the Manson family crimes. Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, who will play the neighbors of Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), are fictional characters.
Tarantino and Moh will likely have a lot of Lee love to discuss, as Lee’s influence on the filmmaker can’t be overstated.
For example, the yellow suit he wore to battle Kareem Abdul Jabbar in “Game of Death” inspired the one Uma Thurman’s Beatrix Kiddo (aka The Bride) wore as she took out the Crazy 88, Gogo Yubari and O-Ren in “Kill Bill Vol. 1.” As Polly told us on the podcast, Lee picked up the yellow suit during a trip with Polanski to Gstaad, Switzerland.
Here are two videos in which Moh plays homage to Lee: