If you have more than a passing interest in cinema, you may well have heard the rumblings surrounding a new film scheduled for release at the end of 2016. The film in question is called ‘The Great Wall’, a record breaking 135 million dollar epic set entirely in China, with a huge all-star Chinese cast, directed by Zhang Yimou (who you may recognise as the director of Hero & House of Flying Daggers), but perhaps surprisingly, it stars American actor, Matt Damon, in one of the leading roles.
Damon’s appointment has drawn some criticism in the media with accusations of whitewashing (the casting practice in which white actors are cast in historically non-white character roles). Yimou denies this and it’s interesting to hear the director’s motivations behind the decision. “For the first time, a film deeply rooted in Chinese culture, with one of the largest Chinese casts ever assembled, is being made at tentpole scale for a world audience. I believe that is a trend that should be embraced by our industry… 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.” Read more