When actor and martial artist Mike Moh was auditioning for Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, he was pretty much in the dark in what the movie was about and how his character played into the narrative. Since it was a Tarantino project, things were kept under lock and key but details started to come out and the first trailer showed that Moh would be portraying one of his heroes: the iconic Bruce Lee. Moh (who owns a martial arts school in Wisconsin) knew that he had a responsibility to do right by the martial arts legend and he certainly knew all eyes were going to be on him — especially the Asian American community.
When Moh stopped by the New Hollywood Podcast, he talked about how he took an even-handed, mindful approach in portraying Lee. He said followed Lee’s philosophy of “be like water” when it came to stepping into the shoes of the martial arts legend. He admitted that he was aware of the criticism that would come with this character’s place in the movie. Even so, he stressed that he just wanted to fulfill the job of his portrayal of Lee. More than that, he wanted to honor the icon.
The Minnesota native who splits his time between Wisconson and Los Angeles also addressed the problematic stereotypes of Asians and martial arts in Hollywood, his experience watching The Bachelorette for the first time and his favorite Street Fighter character. Listen to the episode below.