“Fresh Off the Boat” star Constance Wu has had just about enough.
When the first trailer for “The Great Wall” was released last week, many viewers and pundits were perplexed as to why an action film set at the Chinese monument was being led by American actor Matt Damon. But for Wu, the casting choice highlighted a much more serious and pervasive problem.
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“We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth that only a white man can save the world,” she wrote in a lengthy note posted to Twitter Friday. “Our heroes don’t look like Matt Damon. “They look like Malala. Gandhi. Mandela. Your big sister when she stood up for you to those bullies that one time.”
Wu also challenged the conventional wisdom that actors of color are more of a financial risk for studios.
“If white actors are forgiven for having a box office failure once in a while, why can’t a POC sometimes have one?” she wrote. “And how COOL would it be if you were the movie that took the ‘risk’ to make a POC as your hero, and you sold the s**t out of it?! The whole community would be celebrating!”
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“Remember it’s not about blaming individuals,” she wrote. “It’s about repeatedly pointing out the racist notion that white people are superior to [people of color] and that POC need salvation from our own color via white strength.”
Can we all at least agree that hero-bias & “but it’s really hard to finance” are no longer excuses for racism? TRY pic.twitter.com/mvNet5PrtH
— Constance Wu (@ConstanceWu) July 29, 2016
Considering how contentious talk of diversity and race in Hollywood has become lately, it’s not surprising that Wu received some criticism for her words along with support. She was even compelled to clarify her statement.
“Y’all sayin that im blaming ppl didnt read. It’s NOT abt blame, it’s abt awareness. That way we dont get in tired fights abt good intentions,” she tweeted later.
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“For the millionth time it’s NOT abt blame. Not blaming Damon, the studio, the Chinese financiers. It’s not about blame, It’s about AWARENESS.””
“The Great Wall” will hit theaters Feb. 17, 2017.