The Great Wall: Matt Damon knew Chinese creature feature was ‘a turkey’

Last Updated on August 10, 2021

I was surprised when I heard that Matt Damon had signed on to star in a movie like director Zhang Yimou's large-scale creature feature The Great Wall (watch it HERE) – and it sounds like that was a decision Damon came to regret rather quickly. During a recent interview on Marc Maron's WTF podcast, Damon described the film as a "disaster" and a "turkey", and revealed that his 15-year-old daughter likes to give him grief about it. 

Scripted by Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro, and Tony Gilroy from an idea crafted by Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull and World War Z author Max Brooks, The Great Wall stars Damon as

a soldier who is part of a group of mercenaries traveling to China in order to bring back gunpowder to Europe. When the group is attacked by mystical beasts, the man finds himself in a war between a secret warrior clan and the beasts.

Willem Dafoe, Pedro Pascal, Andy Lau, Luhan, and Jing Tian were also in the cast.

Damon said he saw the movie as being 

the exact same plot as Lawrence of Arabia, Dances With Wolves [and] Avatar. It’s an outsider comes into a new culture, finds value in the culture, brings some skill from the outside that aids them in their fight against whatever and they’re all changed forever."

But once on set, he began to realize

This is exactly how disasters happen. It doesn’t cohere. It doesn’t work as a movie. … I came to consider that the definition of a professional actor; knowing you’re in a turkey and going, ‘OK, I’ve got four more months. It’s the up at dawn siege on Hamburger Hill. I am definitely going to die here, but I’m doing it.' That’s as shitty as you can feel creatively, I think. I hope to never have that feeling again."

As for his daughter, Damon said she 

likes giving me shit. She’s playfully hard on me. She doesn’t go to see my movies on purpose, the ones she thinks might be good. She crushes me on the ones that don’t work. … Whenever she talks about the movie, she calls it ‘The Wall.’ And I’m like, come on, it’s called The Great Wall. And she’s like, ‘Dad, there’s nothing great about that movie.’ She’s one of the funniest people I know."

I was excited to check out The Great Wall back when it was being released, but when I finally watched it on DVD I remember being disappointed that it wasn't as good as I had been hoping it would be… And that's all I remember. I don't recall a single thing about the movie itself. So if other viewers had an experience like mine, Damon should be relieved to know that it would be easy to pretend the movie never even happened.

Source: THR

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.