Matt Damon Says ‘Great Wall’ Is Not a Case of Whitewashing
In the aftermath of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, the Academy has taken some steps to better diversify their numbers in the coming years. However, some recent and forthcoming films like Dr. Strange, Ghost in the Shell and The Great Wall exhibit the continual trend of giving leading roles to white actors and actresses that don’t quite fit the story’s context. Now, Matt Damon has come forward to defend his participation in the upcoming Chinese vehicle, arguing that it isn’t whitewashing and that misleading outlets perpetuate the controversy.
“[The whitewashing news] suddenly becomes a story because people click on it, versus the traditional ways that a story would get vetted before it would get to that point,” Damon told the AP, via Vulture. He went on to argue that whitewashing is altering a story to suit a white actor, that’s not the case here. “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.”
Damon went on to state that throughout the process of making the film, he also worked to be respectful of the culture he was joining: “Although it was developed for commercial purposes, I felt there was room for me to play and put many elements of Chinese culture into it.”
Fresh Off the Boat actress Constance Wu called out Damon over the summer for his participation in The Great Wall, stating that the film is “perpetuating the racist myth that a only white man can save the world [sic].”
“Our heroes don’t look like Matt Damon. They look like Malala. Ghandi. Mandela,” she wrote. “Your big sister when she stood up for you to those bullies that one time.”
The Great Wall arrives in theaters Feb. 17, 2016.