MATT Damon has responded to the backlash over his upcoming film The Great Wall, saying accusations the blockbuster was whitewashing Chinese history was a “f**king bummer.”
Some viewers were quick to criticise the film when the first trailer debuted in August, depicting Damon as a warrior defending The Great Wall of China from mysterious monsters.
While Asian actors round out the supporting cast of the joint Chinese-American blockbuster, many of the lead roles are played by American actors, including Damon, Willem Dafoe and Chilean-born Game of Thrones actor Pedro Pascal.
Taiwanese-American actress Constance Wu, best known for her role in sitcom Fresh Off The Boat, was among those to criticise the film.
She called on Hollywood to “stop perpetuating the racist myth that [only a] white man can save the world. It’s not based in actual fact.”
Now, Damon has responded to the backlash, saying he was disappointed to hear so many negative opinions about a film that’s not even set for release until next year.
“Yeah, it was a f**king bummer. I had a few reactions. I think I was surprised, I guess, because it was based on a teaser. It wasn’t even a full trailer, let alone the movie. So, to get those charges levied against you … what bums me out actually is that I read The Atlantic religiously. And there was an article in The Atlantic, [so] I was like really guys? To me whitewashing, I think of Chuck Connors when he played Geronimo … there are far more nuanced versions of it and I do try to be sensitive to that,” he said during a press conference at Comic-Con.
“I really do agree with and try to listen and try to be sensitive to, but ultimately I feel like you are undermining your own credibility when you attack something without seeing it. I think you have to educate yourself about what it is and then make your attack or your argument and then it is easier to listen to from my side.”
The Great Wall is the latest in a long line of Hollywood films casting white actors in what would traditionally be Asian roles. Scarlett Johansson plays Major Motoko Kusanagi in the upcoming big screen manga adaptation The Ghost In The Shell, while Tilda Swinton will play the role of Tibetan monk ‘Ancient One’ in Marvel’s Doctor Strange, set for release in November.Great Wall