A second preview of the upcoming American-Chinese blockbuster “The Great Wall” was released over the weekend, helping to shed a little more light on just what the heck Matt Damon is doing at the Great Wall.
Watch it below:
In case you’re still a little confused, the “science fantasy action-adventure monster,” movie stars Damon as a foreign mercenary who is imprisoned in the Great Wall, but then joins up with a group of elite warriors to help defend it from mysterious monsters.
After the film’s first teaser was released in July, it was quickly met with charges of “whitewashing” the Great Wall by choosing a Western actor to be the hero that defends China from hordes of baddies. Legendary Chinese director Zhang Yimou directed the film and has since rejected these accusations, explaining that Damon’s part in the film was never intended to be played by a Chinese actor. It will be Zhang’s first English-language film and had a budget of a whopping $150 million, which seems to have been spent mostly on arrows.
More recently, at a press conference event for the film on Saturday, Damon called the whitewashing charges a “fucking bummer,” adding that the entire cast felt “wounded” by the backlash, according to Screen Crush. “To me, whitewashing, I think of Chuck Connors when he played Geronimo,” Damon said before going into the heart of the matter:
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 A, 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’s co-star Pedro Pascal (The Viper from Games of Thrones!), also leaped in to defend the film from critics, noting that it was made by China’s most well-respected filmmaker and “has a visual style that is very very much his and his only.” Pascal also said that following the initial backlash, he joked to Damon: Yeah, we are guilty of whitewashing. We all know that only the Chinese defended the wall against the monsters when they attacked.”
Still, YouTube commenters remain divided on the movie:
“In a world where your only hope is… White Guy!”
“oh that great Chinese actor matt damon.”
“I’m Chinese but this look shit. Anyone wants a great Chinese epic, watch Red Cliff Part One and Two.”
“That’s why the chinese helped rescuing him from Mars last time, now they call it even.”
“I hate it when god damn Mongorians break down my shitty wall.”
“This is the worst Hillary Clinton add I’ve ever seen.”
For the record, we think it looks okay.
[Video via Legendary]