Since the trailer for “The Great Wall” was released a couple of months ago, the film has garnered the interest of many movie goers, both good and bad.
While some are excited to see Matt Damon, who plays an English mercenary in the movie, fight monsters, others accused him of whitewashing, saying that his role should’ve gone to a Chinese actor. But during a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday (6th December), Damon defended his role, saying that the starring character “was always intended to be European”.
“That whole idea of whitewashing, I take that very seriously,” Damon said, using the example of the Irish-American actor Chuck Connors, who played the lead character in “Geronimo” (1962).
“Once people see that it’s a monster movie and it’s a historical fantasy and I didn’t take a role away from a Chinese actor…it wasn’t altered because of me in any way,” he added.
Helmed by legendary Chinese director Zhang Yimou (張藝謀) “The Great Wall” is a monster action film that boasts an all-star cast including both Western and Chinese stars such as Willem Dafoe, Pedro Pascal, Andy Lau (劉德華), former EXO member Luhan (鹿晗), Eddie Peng (彭于晏), and many more.
For those of you who are not in the know, whitewashing is a form of casting practice in the Hollywood film industry in which white actors are cast in historically non-white character roles, using make up or special effects to make them look like another race.
So in the case of Damon, it’s not really whitewashing if the role was originally intended to be Caucasian. Since the film is a Chinese-Hollywood co-production, a mixture of both Caucasian and Asian actors was bound to happen.
What do you think of the film’s whitewashing controversy? Do you think that Damon’s role should’ve gone to a Chinese actor? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
“The Great Wall” is slated for release on 17th February 2017 in the US, with an unspecified date in December 2016 for a China release.