Matt Damon Says Director Zhang Yimou is the Steven Spielberg of the East

Last weekend at New York Comic Con, after The Great Wall panel had concluded, our own Brandon Davis caught up with Matt Damon and asked the 46-year-old actor what is it about Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou (whose name is pronounced JONG EE-moe) that drew him to this ambitious project.

Damon begins by saying he's a huge fan of Zhang Yimou's previous films, especially Raise the Red Lantern (1991) and Hero (2002). "I just love his movies," he told ComicBook.com, "and the Beijing Olympic ( directed the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Games). He's so unique. There's not really anyone that can do what he does. I would guess the closest equivalent would be Steven Spielberg...from the East — just with a different cultural influence, a different look. When you see one of his movie, you know it's his. In his own world."

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.

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The Great Wall will be released in theaters on February 17, 2017.