Matt Damon has been criticized for his newest role in The Great Wall. Many have a problem with him leading a group of Chinese soldiers to victory, but Damon blames it on clickbait.
Damon has no problem with playing a Chinese leader and feels that clickbait headlines are the heart of the problem. “It suddenly becomes a story because people click on it, versus the traditional ways that a story would get vetted before it would get to that point,” Damon said.
Unfortunately, these articles typically discuss whether it’s appropriate for Damon to play an ancient Chinese hero since he’s a white American dude. Though Damon is not playing a character of Chinese decent, he is playing the sole white man who leads all the Asians to glory. It might not be Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s bad, but it’s sad that a white guy has to be the hero in a tale from Chinese mythology.
Matt isn’t blind to the problem of whitewashing, but he feels that it only describes when a white person wears makeup to play another race. Damon says he takes whitewashing very seriously and clearly thinks he is not contributing to that problem.
Perhaps when the movie is released, we’ll see that this epic is a wonderful celebration of Chinese culture with a white guy thrown in for marketing reasons. Hopefully, next time we can just take out the white guy.
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