It sure is a fun time to be a writer on the internet these days.
With “fake news” and “clickbait” being hot buzz words these days, it’s no surprise that Matt Damon blames online media for the current controversy surrounding his next film, The Great Wall. Some fans have taken umbrage with Damon being cast as the lead in what looks like a primarily Chinese tale, but Damon argues that the film isn’t a real-world piece; It’s a fantasy-driven monster movie about three westerners visiting China and getting more than they bargained for.
“That whole idea of whitewashing, I take that very seriously,” Damon told TIME Magazine. The actor felt that “once people [saw] that itâ€™s a monster movie and itâ€™s a historical fantasy and I didnâ€™t take a role away from a Chinese actorâ€¦it wasnâ€™t altered because of me in any way” that there’d be no chance for this kind of controversy.
Damon then points out how he thinks the non-story about The Great Wall gained any momentum:
“It suddenly becomes a story because people click on it, versus the traditional ways that a story would get vetted before it would get to that point. Eventually you stop clicking on some of those more outrageous things because you just realize there is nothing to the story when you get to it.”
So, in short, Damon thinks people need to be more mindful of what they read and how they interpret it; Be more discerning consumers of information.
Some of Damon’s defense of The Great Wall calls to mind what happened with Gods of Egypt, where director Alex Proyas argued that his film was a fantasy and that the caucasians he had leading it were playing mythical gods and not actual Egyptians. That one was a bit of a stretch, but what do you think of Damon’s claims? Is the production off the hook because it didn’t technically take a job away from Chinese actors and, instead, put American characters in a Chinese setting?
You be the judge.