The Great Wall: Constance Wu says Matt Damon film perpetuates 'racist myth that only white men can save the world'

'Our heroes don’t look like Matt Damon. They look like Malala'

Jack Shepherd
Sunday 31 July 2016 15:57
The Great Wall - Trailer

Over the past few weeks, there’s been a growing concern over ‘whitewashing’ in Hollywood films, particularly those including classically Asian characters.

Two recent examples include Tilda Swinton’s Ancient One in Doctor Strange, the character being Tibetan in the Marvel comic books, and Scarlett Johansson’s The Major in Ghost in the Shell.

Add Matt Damon to the growing list of actors at the centre of ‘whitewashing’ controversies as his latest role in The Great Wall has sparked outrage from numerous people around the world.

In the English-language film directed by Zhang Yimou, Damon plays a European soldier who fights monsters on the Great Wall of China.

One of the first to comment on the Jason Bourne actor being the film’s lead was Fresh off the Boat actor Constance Wu, who posted a statement on Twitter that calls on Hollywood to “stop perpetuating the racist myth that [only a] white man can save the world. It’s not based in actual fact.”

She continued: “Our heroes don’t look like Matt Damon. They look like Malala. Ghandi. Mandela. Your big sister when she stood up for you to those bullies that one time. We don’t need salvation. We like our colour and our culture and our strengths and our own stories.”

Other people to critique the film include Jen Yamato, a writer for the Daily Beast, who Tweeted: “1700 years to build, just for Matt Damon to come save it.”

In recent weeks, a campaign to prevent casting Leonardo DiCaprio as Persian poet Rumi has built steam, the petition calling on producers not to 'rewrite history' by casting a white actor.

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