The star discussed the film at the New York Comic Con
Matt Damon has spoken up about the whitewashing controversy surrounding his latest film The Great Wall, calling the controversy a “fucking bummer”.
Since the release of The Great Wall’s first trailer, the film has suffered from on onslaught of criticism from the Asian community, who have slammed the film for ‘whitewashing’.
Amongst the critics was Fresh Off The Boat’s Constance Wu, who posted a rant on social media, including, “our heroes don’t look like Matt Damon. They look like Malala. Ghandi. Mandela”.
Can we all at least agree that hero-bias & “but it’s really hard to finance” are no longer excuses for racism? TRY pic.twitter.com/mvNet5PrtH
— Constance Wu (@ConstanceWu) July 29, 2016
The director, Zhang Yimou (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon), was heavily criticised for not representing the community in his casting decisions.
Speaking at the New York Comic Con, Damon addressed the whitewashing criticism, saying “it was a fucking bummer” and that the cast felt “wounded” by the backlash.
“To me, whitewashing, I think of Chuck Connors when he played Geronimo”
Damon also presented the second trailer for the film. Discussing the initial trailer, the Bourne star said, “they’re trying to establish a number of things in 30 seconds or a minute or whatever they have; it’s not a full-length trailer, it’s a teaser.”
“They’re trying to tease the monster. They’re trying to speak to a bigger audience. ‘You probably don’t know who this director is in Middle America, the Steven Spielberg of China. Don’t worry, they speak English in this movie’ – you hear my voice speaking English. ‘Don’t worry, Matt’s in the movie, you’ve seen this guy before.’ So they’re trying to establish all these things. And by the way, there are monsters. So there’s a lot of pipe they’re trying to lay in that 30 seconds.”
Damon also discussed how co-star Pedro Pascal (Narcos, Game of Thrones) called him soon after the first teaser was released to say: “Yeah, we are guilty of whitewashing. We all know that only the Chinese defended the wall against the monsters when they attacked.”
Speaking about the controversy, Zhang said, “The Great Wall is the opposite of what is being suggested.”
“For the first time, a film deeply rooted in Chinese culture, with one of the largest Chinese casts ever assembled, is being made at tent pole scale for a world audience.”
The Great Wall is set to be released on 17 February 2017 in the USA.