Chinese director defends casting of Matt Damon

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Matt Damon…”Role was never conceived for a Chinese actor”.

Acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou has responded to criticism from an Asian-American actress over the casting of “white man” Matt Damon as his movie’s lead, saying the role was never conceived for a Chinese actor.

Damon of the “Bourne” franchise will star later this year in the $150 million Chinese-Hollywood fantasy movie “The Great Wall,” an English-language movie set in China involving menacing supernatural monsters.

Constance Wu, who stars in a U.S. comedy series centred on immigrants called “Fresh Off the Boat,” posted on Twitter last week: “We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth that a only (sic) white man can save the world.”

“The Great Wall” is the first English-language movie by Zhang Yimou, the director of the romantic Kung Fu drama “House of Flying Daggers,” and the opulent opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“For the first time, a film deeply rooted in Chinese culture, with one of the largest Chinese casts ever assembled, is being made at tent pole scale for a world audience. I believe that is a trend that should be embraced by our industry,” Zhang said in a statement posted on Entertainment Weekly’s website on Thursday.

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