Matt Damon is in hot water after fans accuse Matt Damon of whitewashing Chinese History in the movie The Great Wall.
After reports surfaced that the most expensive Chinese feature film ever made, The Great Wall, featured Matt Damon. Many people were excited and equally upset.
The Great Wall is directed by Zhang Yimou, one of China’s most popular and decorated filmmakers in recent history. The movie centers around the true story about the several dynasties that spend years constructing 5,500 miles of stone and brick to keep invaders and enemies out. The entire wall took 1700 years to build. But, some people are irked by the notion that Hollywood wants to recreate history with Matt Damon.
Jen Yamato with The Daily Beast writes (emphasis my own), “Matt Damon saves ancient China. From giant reptilian dragons. Because of course! Damon raked in $94 million from Chinese audiences last year by being stranded in space. If he can be The Martian, why not the guy who defends Asia with a quiver of arrows and his stoic Caucasian heroism?”
Yamato is not alone. Several other people took to Twitter to voice their frustration with the “whitewashed” casting of The Great Wall.
Sometimes I don’t know is China being silly or Hollywood being racist.
Matt Damon in a movie about the Great Wall?
Anthony K (@m72_ar) July 29, 2016
Matt Damon in a movie about the Great Wall of China? Built during their isolationism. Translation: White ppl were not allowed in. #whitewash
B?L?? (@theBrianAlan) July 28, 2016
Matt Damon is one of my favourite people on the planet but why is he playing the lead in The Great Wall of China?? #whitewash
Jasmine Harris (@JasmineHarris_) July 28, 2016
Matt Damon starring in a movie about Building the Great Wall of China… can we say #WhiteWash … when is Hollywood gonna learn???
Real Name No Gimmick (@DOMO27) July 28, 2016
But, it’s important to keep in mind that Hollywood has a history of rewriting history with famous white actors. You have The Last of the Mohicans, Tom Cruise’s The Last Samurai and countless others.
According to the BBC said in 2015, “The practice of casting white actors in non-white roles is still prevalent in Hollywood despite widespread condemnation and protest.”
A 2013 study showed that 94% of film executives were white and that nonwhite people were under-represented as filmmakers and actors.
In addition, the BBC explored two reasons for the casting practice: institutional racism and producers believing that white actors attract more audiences and maximize profits. In fact, Thomas Rothman, the chairman of Sony Pictures said, “I guess there’s a certain institutional force and memory that exists out there… I think the industry’s improving but I certainly agree with those who say we haven’t come far enough fast enough.”
Surprisingly, this is not the first time Matt Damon was surrounded by controversy.
The actor ignited a controversy when he suggested in an interview that gay actors would be better off if people didnt know about their sexuality. I think youre a better actor the less people know about you period. And sexuality is a huge part of that, he said. Whether youre straight or gay, people shouldnt know anything about your sexuality because thats one of the mysteries that you should be able to play.
In addition, Damon was caught in a racial controversy after an episode of Project Greenlight. During that particular episode, Matt Damon debated which director should direct their new production. Ultimately, Matt Damon argued that racial diversity only happens in front of the camera and not behind it. When were talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show, he said.
You can check out the trailer for The Great Wall below.