While whitewashing has always been a major problem in Hollywood, the debate has gained significant steam over the past few months following the casting of Tilda Swinton as the Tibetan monk Ancient One in Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” and Scarlett Johansson’s role as The Major in “Ghost in the Shell.”
Now, Jason Bourne franchise star Matt Damon has joined the list of white celebrities playing the roles that traditionally belong to Asian actors.
In an upcoming action-horror movie “The Great Wall,” Damon plays a warrior fighting among legions of Chinese warriors and defending The Great Wall of China from mysterious monsters. The fantasy adventure flick is set in medieval China more than 1,000 years ago — so what is a white man doing there, again?
“We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth that only a white man can save the world,” Taiwanese-American actress, Constance Wu, said in a Twitter post.
Can we all at least agree that hero-bias & "but it's really hard to finance" are no longer excuses for racism? TRY pic.twitter.com/mvNet5PrtH— Constance Wu (@ConstanceWu) July 29, 2016
"Our heroes don’t look like Matt Damon. They look like Malala. Ghandi (sic). Mandela. Your big sister when she stood up for you to those bullies that one time. ... We don’t need salvation. We like our color and our culture and our strengths and our own stories,” she wrote.
The film's trailer, posted below, shows the 45-year-actor dressed up as an ancient Chinese warrior, seemingly feeding into Hollywood's “white savior” complex.
The “Fresh off the Boat” actress is not the only one to criticize the apparent whitewashing in the upcoming movie.
...why would white men need to be in a movie about the Great Wall, even if it's a monster movie?— Nicole Chung (@nicole_soojung) July 28, 2016
“Why do you think it was so nice to see a nerdy white kid have a girl fall in love with him? Because you WERE that nerdy white kid who felt unloved. And seeing pictures of it in Hollywood’s stories made it feel possible,” Wu added. “Hollywood is supposed to be about making great stories. So make them.”