When the preview for the film The Great Wall was released over the summer, it was immediately confronted with “whitewashing” controversy. The film tells the story of an elite force making a stand against a mythical creature on one of the world’s most iconic structures, The Great Wall of China. The film also takes on historical research over a 1,000 years old, in this epic monster movie.
The film received heavy controversy for casting Matt Damon, a white actor, in a lead that could be better fit for a Chinese actor. Fresh Off the Boat star Constance Wu wrote a widely circulated tweet stating: “We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth that [only a] white man can save the world…Our heroes don’t look like Matt Damon.”
At New York Comic Con, Matt Damon addressed the controversy by saying it was an “f—ing bummer.” He hopes people will take the time to watch the film and not judge it based on the movie trailer that is intended for wide appeal and marketing purposes.
Although the film lacks in casting a Chinese actor in the perfect role, the film is the first English-language production for Zhang Yimou, who is best known for directing House of Flying Daggers. It is also the most expensive Chinese film of all time, and largest film ever shot entirely in China. The Great Wall also stars Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe and Andy Lau. The film is set for release in February 2017.