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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Weekend
No whitewashing Zhang Yimou on the controversy about his new film
    2016-December-9  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    “The Great Wall” director and Asian superstar Andy Lau address the criticism over the casting of Matt Damon in the blockbuster movie with Channel NewsAsia

    WHEN the first teaser trailer of “The Great Wall” debuted in July, some Asian-Americans took to the Internet to express their unhappiness that a white actor had been cast in a role which, they argued, could and should have gone to an Asian.

    Now that the film is about to be released, the cast and director Zhang Yimou are all speaking up about the “whitewashing” controversy that has plagued the film.

    The action-fantasy epic, set in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), stars Matt Damon who ends up fighting alongside the Chinese army as they defend the Great Wall of China against a horde of monsters called Taotie.

    But while the casting of Damon has got some armchair warriors hot under the collar, director Zhang told Channel NewsAsia that his role was always meant to be played by a Westerner.

    “Matt plays a foreign mercenary who comes to China to steal gun powder, gets captured and was to be executed. But in the end, he isn’t and ends up joining the fight,” he said, speaking in Mandarin. “His character has a lot of growth … and his relationship with the Chinese also changes. In fact, the movie is based on the theme of trust.

    “He actually uses Mandarin to say the word “trust” and he says it very well. And up to our Chinese standards,” he continued with a laugh.

    “That’s basically the story and plot so it’s only natural that we required a Westerner to play the part.”

    Damon also spoke up about the controversy, drawing a clear distinction between whitewashing and his role in “The Great Wall.”

    “That whole idea of whitewashing, I take that very seriously,” Damon said. “When I think of whitewashing I think Chuck Connors playing Geronimo, that’s whitewashing and that’s unacceptable,” he said, referring to a Caucasian actor who played the Native American chief in a 1962 Western.

    He thought the criticism over his casting would subside “once people see that it’s a monster movie and it’s a historical fantasy and I didn’t take a role away from a Chinese actor ... it wasn’t altered because of me in any way.”

    Besides Damon, “The Great Wall” stars a host of big Asian stars, including Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau, Taiwanese heartthrob Eddie Peng and former South Korean-Chinese boy group EXO member Lu Han.

    Lau told Channel NewsAsia that he believes that “The Great Wall” is a great opportunity to introduce a quality Chinese movie to a Western audience.

    “Just because of that I have to do it. No matter what people are talking about this or talking about that, I have to do this!” he said, addressing the whitewashing controversy. “You have to know the truth. It’s a Western production from a Western production house so the main role is a foreign person. It’s not a big deal.”

    The award-winning Hong Kong actor was also quick to highlight the significance of his role in the film.

    “I’m a very important person in this movie. I play a scientist who spends my entire life researching the best ways to fight the beasts,” he explained. “I invent a lot of things in this movie and experiment on the best fighting techniques.

    “You know without me, Matt Damon can’t fight!” he quipped.

    A Zhang Yimou blockbuster

    The film is the first Sino-Hollywood co-production by Legendary East, the Chinese venture of Legendary Entertainment, a Hollywood studio now owned by Chinese real estate and theater chain developer Wanda Group.

    It is also the first English-language film for Zhang, one of China’s most respected and revered auteurs. Known for films like “Ju Dou,” “Raise The Red Lantern,” “Hero” and “House of Flying Daggers,” Zhang is also renowned for his cinematic theme about the resilience of Chinese people in the face of hardship and adversity, which he explores in many of his films.

    “The Great Wall” is no exception.

    “I hope that when people see this, yes they see a Hollywood blockbuster movie, but they also see that it’s a Zhang Yimou movie,” he said.

    “I was very clear that I didn’t want to lose myself, and when we were discussing the film with our American counterparts, they all agreed. And from there, that’s how we discussed how to develop the movie … That’s why I thought I would attempt this.”

    He also said that he hopes this movie will expose more people to Chinese culture.

    “I hope after watching this they will know about the Great Wall … about the inventions of the ancient Chinese, the invention of gunpowder, about the science and technology of that time,” he said. “I hope they can learn about so many different things, including how Chinese people defending the Great Wall were not afraid of sacrifice nor death. Told through this manner and style (of blockbuster movie-making) which many young people like, this will hopefully allow everyone to experience these things.”

    Meanwhile, having addressed the issue of why a Western actor was needed for a central role in this film, the next question was why specifically Matt Damon?

    “Because he’s my favorite actor — no contest!” answered Zhang with a grin. “I really appreciate Matt Damon and really enjoy his movies. I love his earlier films but also the more recent ones like ‘We Bought a Zoo’ and especially ‘Behind the Candelabra’ with Michael Douglas. He was very good in that.”

    He continued: “Whatever genre of movie he acts in, I really enjoy his performances in them. I truly find all his performances very natural.”

    (SD-Agencies)

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