Update: We’ve taken down one of the two posters at the request of Universal.
Original story: It’s almost fitting that The Great Wall, a sci-fi fantasy feature revolving around China’s legendary fortification, stands as the most expensive film in the country’s history.
Helmed by Zhang Yimou, Legendary and Universal’s international blockbuster blew the doors off with its stunning first trailer, before claims of whitewashing began to seep into the conversation. It’s a topic that Yimou, a filmmaker with more than 20 Chinese language films under his belt, hasn’t shied away from, noting that The Great Wall is the story of a collective struggle against a hoard of supernatural enemies. It seems the Chinese weren’t simply constructing the wall to fend off the marauding Mongols of the time.
Said Yimou: “Matt Damon is not playing a role that was originally conceived for a Chinese actor. The arrival of his character in our story is an important plot point. There are five major heroes in our story and he is one of them — the other four are all Chinese. The collective struggle and sacrifice of these heroes are the emotional heart of our film.”
Rooted in the 15th century, The Great Wall features such big-name Chinese actors as Andy Lau, Luhan and Jing Tian, who have little choice but to join forces with three wandering soldiers – Damon, Narcos star Pedro Pascal and Willem Dafoe – in order to safeguard the sky-scraping fortification from monsters. That’s a struggle that is placed front and center in today’s pair of new posters for The Great Wall, showcasing Damon taking a stomach-churning leap of faith directly into the battle. It’s not a poster that will help combat those whitewashing concerns, mind you, and it’ll be interesting to see how Zhang Yimou’s epic fares both on home turf and overseas.
Damon and Co. will scale The Great Wall when Yimou’s fantasy blockbuster opens on February 17, 2017.