Does Hollywood have a Whitewashing problem? It would unfortunately seem so, as the trailer for The Great Wall joins Ghost in the Shell and Doctor Strange as the latest case of whitewashing characters in film. To its credit, the recent trailer for next year’s Chinese sci-fi adventure film does have some cool-looking visuals to it, as well as a somewhat entertaining idea to it that the Great Wall of China was built to protect the land for Kaiju. However, no amount of visual spectacle and CGI can hide the fact that Matt Damon sticks out like a sore thumb in this time setting, a Caucasian man trying to pass off as an Chinese soldier. And it’s not like Hollywood couldn’t cast an Asian/Asian-American actor in the lead role, as they have a number of them playing supporting characters, not to mention the fact that the film is being headed by acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou. That’s why the tweets sent by Fresh off the Boat actress Constance Wu need to be taken into consideration by Hollywood, as they need to stop suggesting that only a white guy has the power to save foreign ethnic culture.
In her tweet, the Taiwanian actress criticized the excuses and justifications that Hollywood uses to explain their need to cast white actors as non-white characters. In her posts, Wu explained that this outrage by her and many other people is “…not about blaming individuals … Rather, it’s about pointing out the repeatedly implied racist notion that white people are superior to POC and that POC need salvation from our own color via white strength.” Her words do ring true, as representation remains an important for storytelling in order to properly represent different cultures and attract a wider audience of viewers. And while its doubtful that Hollywood is making these decisions out of malice intent, the fact that people are still trying to raise awareness for this issue is rather concerning.
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
The Great Wall is being produced by Legendary Pictures and is set for a release date sometime in February 2017.