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The Great Wall shows that Hollywood still hasn’t learned its lesson

Hollywood is still showing it hasn’t learned its lesson in why whitewashing is so offensive.

One would have thought that after recent controversies with Exodus: Gods and Kings, the bomb that was Gods of Egypt, the controversy with Dr. Strange and the casting of Scarlett Johannson in Ghost in the Shell, that movie makers would get the hint about casting white people in roles where minorities would fit best.

The answer is “NO” as The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon is set to release in February 2017.

The movie is supposed to have a series of firsts.

According to Variety:

It is the first movie made in English by Zhang Yimou, China’s master of the big spectacle. Costing some $150 million it is possibly the biggest-budget Chinese film of all time. It is certainly the biggest Hollywood-Chinese co-production to data and is Matt Damon’s first Asian movie.

Additionally, it is the first picture to emerge from Legendary East, the Chinese wing of Thomas Tull’s – now Wanda-owned — Legendary Entertainment production powerhouse.

Which is to say that it’s a movie that it’s supposed to bridge the gap between Hong Kong and Hollywood but you mean that the same guy who directed Hero and House of Flying Daggers didn’t have enough pull to get an all Asian…?  Wait, yes you are right, he is Chinese so Hollywood producers will pay him no mind.


If that wasn’t enough,  Matt Damon tried to whitesplain the whitewashing.

At New York Comic Con when he was asked about his role and whitewashing he stated the following:

When you look at it from a marketing perspective. What’s a worst wipe out for a marketing team than to have that happen as a backlash against a teaser? I thought of it from their perspective. They’re trying to establish a number of things in 30 seconds, or whatever amount of time they had. It’s not a full length trailer, it’s a teaser. And they’re trying to tease a) the monster, and they’re trying to say, ‘Hey look, it’s a visionary filmmaker that you probably don’t know,’ they’re trying to speak to a bigger audience. It’s the Steven Spielberg of China. ‘Don’t worry they speak English in this movie.’ You hear my voice. ‘Don’t worry Matt’s in the movie, you’ve seen this guy before.’ They’re trying to establish all these things. ‘And, by the way, there are monsters’. All in 30 seconds. So, there’s a lot that they’re trying to hype.

Matt…buddy…pal, no matter how much you try to explain it, this went from a movie about Asians who are capable of handling themselves to some random white dude saving the poor helpless Asians from monsters.  Sure, China is not famous for monster movies but damn!!!

Take a look at the trailer and you may say as well, “Yeah…this will be a ‘no’.” Otherwise you will be on your own come February 2017.


About Armand (1271 Articles)
Armand is a husband, father, and life long comics fan. A devoted fan of Batman and the Valiant Universe he loves writing for PCU, when he's not running his mouth on the PCU podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @armandmhill

7 Comments on The Great Wall shows that Hollywood still hasn’t learned its lesson

  1. TheOriginalPhoenix // December 6, 2016 at 2:57 pm //

    Oh gosh that’s just offensive. Thanks for writing this post, I’m not keeping current with Hollywood and this is an important issue!


  2. I think Hollywood is totally ridiculous to do this. Do they really think that unless a movie has a white A list star we’ll not want to see it? They need to wake up to the global film industry and stop thinking that Hollywood is all there is. I would much rather see an Asian actor in the role. I hate it when films are inauthentic in this way.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a white boy so I know my opinion doesn’t count, but my daughter and I caught the trailer when we went to see Dr. Strange. The feeling I got from it was that a group of westerners head to the far east in search of something. They find the wall, see what’s beyond, and say, “Hell yeah! I wanna kill me some monsters!”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. There is no evidence that says that this isn’t the movie the director wanted to make. In a time when people are happy to segregate again, I think it’s a good thing to marry Hong Kong and Hollywood cinema. And the term “whitewashing” means to make something white, not just white dude in an ethnic movie. You strip the term of its gravity when it’s overused. another thing, isn’t it racist in itself to assume a Chinese movie company would allow themselves to be bullied by white people, like they are not strong enough to do what is right? I think we are dealing with all adults here who are setting out to make the art they attended to make. Everyone is going by a commercial and not the finished product, couldn’t people wait to attack the finished product (if it needs it). Hell, Damon could die 30 minutes in and everything is rendered moot.


    • P.S.
      If this were a historical movie about the construction of the Great Wall and Damon played a white dude teaching people to build walls, yeah we got a problem. But in this case it’s a fantasy/sci-fi movie…


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