“Fresh Off the Boat” star Constance Wu criticized the casting of Matt Damon in “The Great Wall,” arguing that it perpetuates a stereotype that heroes are played by white men.
“We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth that only a white man can save the world,” she wrote on Twitter on Friday. “Our heroes don’t look like Matt Damon. “They look like Malala. Gandhi. Mandela. Your big sister when she stood up for you to those bullies that one time.”
The film, from Legendary and Universal, is set on the Great Wall of China as a group of elite warriors band together to keep out and defeat mythical creatures. Wu, a Taiwanese-American actress, calls Damon’s casting “hero-bias.”
“Remember it’s not about blaming individuals…” she wrote. “Rather, it’s about repeatedly pointing out the racist notion that white people are superior to [people of color] and that POC need salvation from our own color via white strength.”
She also fights back the idea that actors of color don’t bring in as much box office revenue. “If white actors are forgiven for having a box office failure once in a while, why can’t a POC sometimes have one?” she wrote. “And 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 s—t out of it?! The whole community would be celebrating!”
The film stars Damon and Willem Dafoe alongside Chinese stars including Andy Lau, Zhang Hanyu and Eddie Peng. It is the first movie to emerge from Legendary Entertainment’s Legendary East operation.
“The Great Wall” is set for U.S. release Feb. 17, 2017.