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Tarantino Has Cast His Bruce Lee for 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'

Actor and martial artist Mike Moh will play the world's greatest actor slash martial artist.

by River Donaghey
Aug 17 2018, 3:23pm

Bruce Lee photo viaArchive Photos/Stringer/Getty. Moh photo by JB Lacroix/ WireImage.

Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has a ludicrous cast list that already features just about every famous actor working today playing just about every famous actor from 1960s LA, but why stop there? This week, the Wrap announced that actor and martial artist Mike Moh has officially joined the film to play the world's greatest actor slash martial artist: Bruce Lee.

Moh will join Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Burt Reynolds, Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Timothy Olyphant, James Marsden, Luke Perry, Tim Roth, and so, so, so many more for Tarantino's ninth—and possibly penultimate—film. The director was rumored to be looking for an actor to play Bruce Lee for his Manson movie since at least June, and Moh seems like a perfect fit.

Moh, who currently stars in Marvel's Inhumans and had a reoccurring role on Empire, is a fifth-degree black belt and has repeatedly praised Lee's influence on his own career.

"[Lee] has been an inspiration to me and so many others around the world," Moh wrote in a 2015 tribute video to the kung-fu master. "He transcended ethnicity, he showed us how amazing it is to part of the HUMAN RACE."

It makes sense that the martial artist would have a role in the film's larger framework around the Tate-LaBianca murders: Bruce Lee was close friends with celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring, one of the victims brutally killed by the Manson Family in Tate's Cielo Drive home. Sebring helped Lee land the role of Kato on The Green Hornet, according to Slashfilm, and even hooked Lee up with Steve McQueen to teach the actor martial arts. (For the record, Billions star Damian Lewis will play McQueen in Once Upon a Time, so get ready for a Lee/McQueen training montage.)

Tate's husband at the time, Roman Polanski, even briefly suspected Lee to be behind the murders, but it's hard to tell which of these pieces of extraneous Manson lore Tarantino will cherry pick for his film, if any—the guy hasn't proven himself to be particularly hung up on historical fact. All we know for sure at this point is that Moh-as-Lee will appear in some capacity, alongside Robbie's Tate and Lewis's McQueen and Burt Reynolds as that guy who owned the Manson Family's ranch and all the rest.

Moh is a fantastic choice for the role, but the question remains: How is Tarantino going to legitimately squeeze all of these actors into a single movie without the entire thing collapsing by its own weight? Is the whole thing just going to be a distracting Where's Waldo of celebrity cameos? Whatever Once Upon a Time in Hollywood turns out to be, at least we can count on it looking really, really good.

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