The Real Reason Jet Li and Aaliyah Didn’t Kiss in ‘Romeo Must Die’

by Jeremy Spirogis
Jet Li and Aaliyah

Romeo Must Die has grown to grow to be a fan-favorite and cult traditional within the a long time after its launch. But there are nonetheless some issues that trouble followers about all of it these years later — like how Jet Li and Aaliyah went your complete film with out ever kissing, regardless of being forged as lovers.

There have been loads of rumors surrounding the rationale behind this, together with the far-out declare that Li was allergic to Aaliyah’s lipstick. But Li really opened up concerning the lack of affection scenes up to now. Find out why they didn’t kiss and extra concerning the movie, under.

Jet Li and Aaliyah
Jet Li (as Han Sing) and Aaliyah (as Trish O”Day) in ‘Romeo Must Die’ | Kharen Hill 2000 Warner Bros

What is ‘Romeo Must Die’ about?

Romeo Must Die is an motion movie that’s loosely based mostly on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In it, Jet Li performs Han Sing, a former police officer looking for vengeance after his brother is killed in what he believes to be an assault by a rival gang. Along the best way, Han falls for Trish (Aaliyah), the daughter of the top of the rival gang, and the 2 got down to discover justice collectively.

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The film was filmed all through 1999 and debuted in March of 2000. It carried out properly on the field workplace, drawing over $90 million from a $25 million finances. However, the reviewers weren’t very optimistic. It earned a measly 32% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.1 out of 10 on IMDB, although Aaliyah’s efficiency acquired reward from critics.

There was little intimacy between Jet Li and Aaliyah’s characters in ‘Romeo Must Die’

Despite being based mostly on one of the romantic items of labor ever, the film isn’t very romantic. Throughout its hour-and-a-half runtime, it doesn’t characteristic any main love scenes between Li and Aaliyah’s characters — not even a kiss. Instead, essentially the most viewers get to see is slightly teasing and some suggestive seems earlier than the film ends with them sharing a hug and strolling away from the digital camera.

Many critics gave the film unhealthy marks for this actual purpose. Roger Ebert wrote in his assessment that “no great romantic chemistry is generated between the young lovers” and that it wanted a screenplay, whereas Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times mentioned, “They have so little chemistry together you’d think they’re putting out a fire instead of shooting off sparks.”

But there was really speculated to be a kiss between Jet Li and Aaliyah

Aaliyah famous in a 2001 interview with Vibe that she and Li had filmed not less than one love scene however prompt that Warner Bros. merely determined to not embody it.

“I guess they thought it was a little sweeter and left more to the imagination,” she advised the interviewer, who famous that the 16-year age distinction between them could have additionally been an element within the resolution.

Jet Li and AaliyahJet Li and Aaliyah
Jet Li and Aaliyah on the ‘Romeo Must Die’ premiere | SGranitz/WireImage

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Meanwhile, the 2007 documentary Slanted Screen prompt there could have been a racial part to the choice to not embody a kiss. According to The Washington Post, the movie talked about that the scene had been scrapped after it examined poorly with an “urban audience.”

“Mainstream America, for the most part, gets uncomfortable with seeing an Asian man portrayed in a sexual light,” mentioned Gene Cajayon, a Filipino American who directed 2001’s The Debut.

But Li mentioned in an outdated post on his web site, “Actually it is not as complicated as people have been suggesting. It was not really a race issue, or a Hollywood issue. Rather, regarding the kiss that was supposed to happen between Han and Trish at that end scene, the truth was, we shot it both ways. One with the kiss, and one without the kiss but the hug instead.”

“Why did we finally decide not to use the kiss? Well, afterward the entire film was put together, with all the drama and tension in that last scene with Han’s father, we thought it might be somewhat strange and awkward for Han to have just witnessed Chou’s suicide, then to come out and kiss Trish. Thus it was decided that Han should take it slowly with Trish … do a hug first and maybe leading into a “real” relationship later,” Li continued. “So it was not really a decision by the powers that be to prevent an inter-racial relationship from happening on screen. It just did not feel right for that moment.”

So there you may have it. Stream Romeo Must Die now on Netflix.

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