October 24, 2016

Zhang Yimou Hits Back At ‘Whitewashing’ Criticism

The Great Wall

Director Zhang Yimou has hit back at ‘whitewashing’ claims aimed at his latest film The Great Wall.

Matt Damon is set to star in the upcoming film and the first trailer for The Great Wall was released last week. But there have been calls of dismay that the ‘hero’ in the film is a white actor and not a Chinese star.

But in a statement released to EW, the director insists that Damon is not playing a role that was ‘originally conceived’ for a Chinese actor and the film brings together one of the largest Chinese casts ever to be assembled for a film.

The statement reads: “In many ways The Great Wall is the opposite of what is being suggested. For the first time, a film deeply rooted in Chinese culture, with one of the largest Chinese casts ever assembled, is being made at tent pole scale for a world audience. I believe that is a trend that should be embraced by our industry.

“Our film is not about the construction of the Great Wall. Matt Damon is not playing a role that was originally conceived for a Chinese actor. The arrival of his character in our story is an important plot point. There are five major heroes in our story and he is one of them – the other four are all Chinese. The collective struggle and sacrifice of these heroes are the emotional heart of our film.

“As the director of over 20 Chinese language films and the Beijing Olympics, I have not and will not cast a film in a way that was untrue to my artistic vision. I hope when everyone sees the film and is armed with the facts they will agree.”

Zhang has brought us movies such as Hero and House of Flying Daggers during his career and The Great Wall is his first feature film since Coming Home back in 2014.

The first trailer really does promise much and it looks like it will be another sweeping epic from the filmmaker – which is something that we have come to expect from Zhang.

Andy Lau, Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, Lu Han, and Zhang Hanyu will all star alongside Damon.

Perhaps we should all reserve our judgment about how ‘whitewashed’ the movie is until we have actually seen it!!!

The Great Wall is released at the beginning of 2017.

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