Constance Wu Slams Matt Damon’s ‘The Great Wall’
Movies| | By Sara Wilkins
Actress Constance Wu has criticized Matt Damon’s forthcoming movie The Great Wall, calling out the ‘whitewashing’ of film roles in Hollywood.
The Taiwanese-American actress took to Twitter on Friday to share her thoughts on the film, which stars Damon and Willem Dafoe alongside big name actors from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan.
“Can we all at least agree that hero-bias & ‘but it’s really hard to finance’ are no longer excuses for racism? TRY,” she wrote, as she posted a lengthy open letter online.
The 34-year-old, who stars in the TV series Fresh Off The Boat, objected to Damon’s leading role in the action movie, which follows the story of a band of soldiers battling an ancient Chinese monster more than 1,000 years ago.
“On The Great Wall: We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth that only a white man can save the world. It’s not based in actual fact,” the letter began. “Our heroes don’t look like Matt Damon. They look like Malala (Yousafzai). (Mahatma) Ghandi (sic). (Nelson) Mandela. Your big sister when she stood up for you to those bullies that one time.”
“Rather, it’s about pointing out the repeatedly implied racist notion that white people are superior to POC (people of color) and that POC need salvation from our own color via white strength,” she continued. “When you consistently make movies like this, you ARE saying that. YOU ARE. Yes, YOU ARE. YES YOU ARE. Yes dude, you f**king ARE. Whether you intend to or not. We don’t need salvation. We like our color and our culture and our own strengths and our own stories. We don’t need you to save us from anything.”
Wu went on to slam the “whitewashing” of roles in Hollywood movies, where Caucasian actors have taken on characters originally envisioned as people of color. Scarlett Johansson’s casting in a new remake of the Japanese anime classic Ghost in the Shell and Tilda Swinton’s take on the originally-Tibetan Ancient One in the forthcoming Doctor Strange have both recently drawn strong accusations of “whitewashing.”
“How cool would it be if you were the movie that took the ‘risk’ to make a POC as your hero, and you sold the s**t out of it?! The whole community would be celebrating!! If nothing else, you’d get some mad respect (which is, way more valuable than money) So make that choice,” Wu wrote.
The movie, directed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, was a collaboration between executives at Legendary Entertainment and Chinese companies Le Vision Pictures and China Film Group. Zhang Yimou previously directed the critically-acclaimed House of Flying Daggers, released to huge success in 2004.
Concluding her letter, Wu wrote, “I know there are lotsa (sic) POC who honestly don’t care. Well excuse me for caring about the images that little girls see, and what that implies to them about their limitations of possibilities. If you were a kid, you should care too. Because we were those kids… Hollywood is supposed to be about making great stories. So make them.”
The actress later took to Twitter to defend her criticism of the movie and Damon’s casting, telling her fans on social media that she was trying to create awareness of the “whitewashing” issue.
“Y’all sayin that im blaming ppl (people) didnt read (sic). It’s NOT abt (about) blame, it’s abt awareness. That way we dont get in tired fights abt good intentions,” she posted. “For the millionth time it’s NOT abt blame. Not blaming Damon, the studio, the Chinese financiers. It’s not about blame, It’s about AWARENESS.”
The Great Wall is slated for release in China and the U.S. in February 2017.