Constance Wu Reads “Great Wall” Film to Filth for Whitewashing
You may have caught Constance Wu playing mother and wife Jessica Huang on ABC’s “Fresh Off The Boat”. In character, Wu is quick to hit her kids with some good old-fashioned parenting in the form of sharp-witted humor, and recently it appears that Wu is no shrinking violet in real life either.
In a letter posted to her Twitter account on Friday, Wu expressed her deep criticism for Matt Damon’s “The Great Wall” which hits theaters early next year. In the sci-fi/fantasy film, Damon plays a warrior defending the historical landmark against ancient Chinese monsters. Wu was quick to explain that she’s not here for the film nor Hollywood’s repeated attempts to whitewash history and heroism.
“We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth that a (sic) only white man can save the world. It’s not based in actual fact. Our heroes don’t look like Matt Damon. They look like Malala. Ghandi. Mandela. Your big sister when she stood up for you to those bullies that one time.”
The Taiwanese-American actress also expressed that she’s sick of hearing the same excuses for why Hollywood fails to cast actors of color, specifically in period and historical pieces that tell the stories of times that they in fact were significantly apart of:
“Can we all at least agree that hero-bias & ‘but it’s really hard to finance’ are no longer excuses for racism?”
She also added that some things are more important than how much money opening weekend brings in off of some A-list actor’s name:
“If nothing else, you’d get some mad respect (which is WAY more valuable than money).”
Wu made it clear that she wasn’t out to place blame on Damon or the Chinese financiers of the movie, but simply wanted her voice to be heard and to spread awareness about this insensitive practice. It doesn’t help that the six writers credited for the film are all white men.
It wouldn’t be the first time that Hollywood has been called out for its tone deafness. Last year, Lionsgate apologized for the lack of diversity in its casting for Gods of Egypt, a movie that despite taking place in Egypt stars only white actors.
I don’t know if the reasoning behind Hollywood’s whitewashing of history is laziness or racism or a little bit of both. I’m sure studios know that having Matt Damon’s face on a movie poster is sure to attract a certain audience that will spend money in the theater to see him as opposed to taking a chance on a lesser known actor of color who may be a better fit for the role. Regardless, Hollywood’s tone-deafness is offensive and ignorant despite the reasoning and I’m happy actresses like Wu are calling Hollywood out.
You can read Wu’s letter in its entirety below: