Matt Damon has heard about the claims of “whitewashing” thrown at his new movie “The Great Wall” and he has some thoughts.
While at the New York Comic Con with the movie on Saturday, Damon was asked about the controversy that bubbled online after the movie’s first teaser went up in late July.
“Yeah, it was a f—ing bummer,” Damon said, according to ComingSoon.net.
In the movie, directed by visionary Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou (“House of Flying Daggers,” “Hero”), Damon plays a British solider who helps fight monsters attacking China’s Great Wall (the movie opens in theaters February 2017).
Damon feels the movie has being unfairly criticized since no one has even seen it yet. He explains the numerous things that the movie had to get across in a teaser:
“From a marketing perspective, what’s a worse wipeout for a marketing team than to have that happen as a backlash against a teaser you put out? They’re trying to establish a number of things within a minute. It’s a teaser, they’re trying to tease the monster. They’re saying it’s a visionary filmmaker that Middle America probably doesn’t know. It’s the Steven Spielberg of China, right? Don’t worry! They speak English in this movie. You hear my voice speaking English. ‘Don’t worry! Matt’s in the movie, you’ve seen this guy before.’ They’re trying to establish all these things, and by the way, there are monsters.”
Damon insisted that he’s sensitive to criticisms of whitewashing, but he thinks once the movie is actually out, people will change their minds:
“I watched that teaser a number of times to try to understand the criticism. Ultimately where I came down to was if people see this movie and there is somehow whitewashing involved in a creature feature that we made up then I will listen to that with my whole heart. I will think about that and try to learn from that. I will be surprised if people see this movie and have that reaction. I will be genuinely shocked. It’s a perspective that as a progressive person I really do agree with and try to listen to and be sensitive to, but ultimately I think you are undermining your own credibility when you attack something without seeing it. You have to educate yourself about what it is before making your attack or your argument and then it’s easier to listen to from my side.”
Here’s the teaser that’s causing all the controversy: