Everything to Know About the Martial Arts Expert Playing Bruce Lee in Tarantino's New Movie
Mike Moh is going viral for facing off against Brad Pitt as Bruce Lee in the trailer for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
The first teaser for Quentin Tarantino‘s massively anticipated Once Upon a Time in Hollywood dropped on Tuesday. And while Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate all made expected appearances — one major newcomer made a surprise splash playing Bruce Lee. (He even faces off against Pitt in the footage, leading the Internet to go wild.)
The late famous martial artist and actor, who died in 1973, will play a potentially significant role in the upcoming film. He’ll be brought to life by Mike Moh, a performer who not only bears a striking resemblance to the late icon, but is also an accomplished martial artist in his own right.
News first broke of Moh’s casting in August 2018 when Tarantino selected him for the part. The film explores DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters who venture into the Los Angeles film industry around the same time of Sharon Tate‘s murder at the hands of the Manson family.
Here are five things to know about Moh.
1. He is a black belt in martial arts
Moh has plenty of martial arts experience that undoubtedly helped him land the role. He earned his fifth-degree Taekwondo black belt when he was 14 years old — just two years after he began the sport.
He has also won several Taekwondo world championships, and both owns and is the chief instructor at Moh’s Martial Arts in Wisconsin.
2. He has appeared in several TV shows including Empire
Moh brought his martial art talents to his acting career when he starred in the web series Street Fighter: Assassins Fist as Ryu. The series aired on YouTube for 12 episodes.
After his role in Street Fighter, Moh began to venture further into the small screen. From 2015 to 2017, he played the role as Steve Cho in Fox’s hit drama Empire. Following that nine episode run, he joined the cast of ABC’s Marvel’s Inhumans as Triton.
Moh’s role in Inhumans was very daunting, as he spent three to five hours every day in the makeup chair to prepare himself for the part. The series was ultimately cancelled after 10 episodes, three of which Moh appeared in as Triton.
3. Jackie Chan is one of his inspirations
Jackie Chan has been one of Moh’s chief inspirations for years. The pair first met in Hong Kong over 11 years ago while Moh was working as a stuntman on the film Rob-B-Hood. In March 2018, Moh posted an Instagram photo of their first encounter, calling Chan “the man that inspired my Acting journey.”
“He made an incredible impression on me,” Moh said in his post. “This man was the hardest working and most humble person on set. Nothing was beneath him. He was sweeping the floor, directing the action, eating lunch with the stunt team, etc. His attitude and demeanor set an amazing example for everyone.”
4. His wife and children also compete in martial arts
For Moh, martial arts has become a family affair. He met his wife Richelle Kondratowicz via martial arts while they were children. In fact, Kondratowicz received her black belt before Moh did, and technically outranks him today.
The married couple’s three children, two boys and one girl, are following in their parents’ footsteps. The three are training at Moh’s Martial Arts to one day potentially earn a black belt of their own.
5. He made a tribute video to Bruce Lee in 2015
Three years before he would land the role as the martial art legend, Moh made a tribute video to Lee back in July 2015. The video was in honor of Lee’s 42nd anniversary of his death, and Moh performed some of Lee’s most iconic stunts while explaining how Lee, like Chan, was a source of major inspiration.
“He has been an inspiration to me and so many others around the world,” Moh said. “He transcended ethnicity, he showed us how amazing it is to be a part of the human race.”
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood opens July 26.