Constance Wu, the star of US sitcom Fresh Off the Boat, took to Twitter to call out Matt Damon's latest movie, The Great Wall, for being a film set in China that somehow stars a white man.
The Great Wall, which is due in February 2017, is a fantasy epic set in medieval China that imagines a world in which the Great Wall of China had been built to defend against dragons. The first trailer, which was released on Thursday, features star Matt Damon as a grizzled hero fighting the monsters alongside a Chinese army. The cast also features fellow American Willem Dafoe and Chilean-American Pedro Pascal alongside Chinese performers Andy Lau and Jing Tian. “We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth that only a white man can save the world,” Wu wrote. “It’s not based in actual fact.”
To be clear, Wu isn't mad at Damon. “It’s not about blaming individuals,” she wrote. “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. When you consistently make movies like this, you ARE saying that. YOU ARE.”
Hollywood has suffered ongoing criticism for the lack of diversity at its highest levels. Earlier this year, the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag drew attention to the lack of racial diversity at the film industry’s highest awards ceremony when the nominees for Best Actor and Best Actress categories contained no people of colour. A study by the University of Southern California pointed out that of minority communities, Asians have it particularly bad: More than half of the films and TV shows the study analysed had no Asian speaking characters at all, according to NPR. Wu goes all in on calling out the excuses for why Hollywood is so white. “Think only a huge movie star can sell a movie? That has NEVER been a total guarantee,” Wu writes, calling money the “lamest excuse in the history of being human” for heavy whitewashing. She added that there’s no reason to think that people of colour can’t draw cinema-goers. She finishes with a challenge to filmmakers: "How COOL would it be if you were the movie that took the ‘risk’ to make a POC as your hero, and you sold the shit out of it?! The whole community would be celebrating!!" she wrote. "If nothing else, you’d get some mad respect." "Hollywood is supposed to be about making great stories," she concluded. "So make them."