No one can argue that Zhang Yimou's The Great Wall looks stunning, but some took issue with the casting of its white male lead Matt Damon.
There were those who thought that in a primarily Chinese acted film there should also be a Chinese lead actor, and Damon recently commented on that particular issue in an interview with TIME.
“That whole idea of whitewashing, I take that very seriously,” Damon said. He brought up the comparison of Irish-American actor Chuck Connors, who played the "Geronimo" role in the 1962 film. Damon figured that “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" that the issue would naturally subside, but he credits media outlets for perpetuating it.
“It 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 said. “Eventually you stop clicking on some of those more outrageous things because you just realize there is nothing to the story when you get to it.”
Damon also explained to ComicBook.com a bit more about the movie's plot, saying "There are three Westerners in the movie; it's Pedro and me and Willem Dafoe and we play these guys who are mercenaries who basically come to steal gunpowder from the Chinese and we've heard of this legendary weapon and we want to bring it back to the West and try to conquer the West with it. And we kind of stumble upon this secretive army that basically exists to defend the Great Wall against these monsters that attack every 60-years. And we kind of stumble upon them on the eve of this battle and prove ourselves useful enough that we end of fighting with them against this assault of monsters."
Starring global superstar Matt Damon (The Martian, Jason Bourne) and directed by one of the most breathtaking visual stylists of our time, Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers), Legendary’s The Great Wall tells the story of an elite force making a valiant stand for humanity on the world’s most iconic structure. The first English-language production for Yimou is the largest film ever shot entirely in China. The Great Wall also stars Jing Tian (Kong: Skull Island, Pacific Rim: Maelstrom), Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones, Narcos), Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man, John Wick), and Andy Lau (Infernal Affairs, The Warlords).
The cast also includes Hanyu Zhang, Eddie Peng, Lu Han, Kenny Lin, Junkai Wang, Zheng Kai, Cheney Chen, and Xuan Huang.
Based on a story by Max Brooks, Edward Zwick, and Marshall Herskovitz, the screenplay was penned by Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro, and Tony Gilroy.
The Great Wall will be released in theaters on February 17, 2017.